THE infamous “R” rate is currently guiding the Government’s coronavirus response, as each of the planned phases depend on how infectious Covid-19 is.
The rate has emerged during several Downing Street briefings, with both officials and the Prime Minister.
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What is the R rate in your area?
According to experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the East Midlands has the fastest spread of infection with a rate of between 0.8 and 1.2.
London, which has been the hardest hit in the country has a R rate of 0.5 to 0.8 — the lowest in the country.
Herefordshire, Norfolk, Durham and Cumberland now have 12 times as many cases as Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.
Why is the R rate different across the UK?
While this is difficult to measure, a number of reasons could come into play here, among them the fact the R rate will tend to be higher in places with higher population densities, like large cities such as London.
Certain places which saw a large number of coronavirus cases may now also have a large number of people with immunity to the virus, while cities will also tend to have more care homes and hospitals which will affect the numbers.
There are also differences in how people live together, with people usually living in bigger family groups outside the large cities.
Similarly, places with higher levels of deprivation and poverty will affect the R rate as well.
How do you track it every day
Public Health England together with researchers at the University of Cambridge are working to regularly nowcast and forecast Covid-19 infections and deaths.
This is real-time tracking of the pandemic, as data accumulate over time, and is an essential component of a public health response to a new outbreak.
Click here to see the latest R rate in your area.
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What is the optimum R rate?
The so-called “R number” is now between 0.7 and 1.0 — it needs to be kept below one.
Below R1 is the important bit because it means the virus will likely peter out.
The R rate needs to be below 1 for the UK to move out of lockdown.