Official R rate hits 'lowest level since May' despite Freedom Day unlocking

THE R rate in England has hit the lowest level since May, scientists have said.

It comes despite the lifting of all remaining lockdown measures on July 19 “Freedom Day”.

Government experts said today the R rate is estimated to be 0.8 to 1 – the last time it was this value was May 7.

The R rate is relatively the same across all regions in the country, going up to 0.8 to 1.1 in the East and South West.

The low level comes after millions more people have recieved a Covid jab dose – although around one third of young people between 18 and 29 are still yet to come forward.

Between May 7 and now, the R rate has gotten as high as 1.2 to 1.5 on July 9 – just before people in England were given more freedoms.

When the R rate is above 1, it means the epidemic is getting worse. A value below 1 is desired because it means the outbreak is shrinking.

The R reflects the number of people an infected person passes the virus onto, and can be suppressed with lockdowns.

The figure published today reflects the outbreak trends three weeks ago as opposed to right now.

Three weeks ago, Covid case rates were coming down as seen in the official diagnosed case data, and infection surveys. 

However, data this week has suggested an uptick in infections once again.

The biggest infection survey today showed the slight dip seen at the beginning of the month has now faltered.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today infection rates are still high in England, with around one in 75 people infected in the week to August 6.

The ONS said rates have increased for those from school year 12 to those aged 24.

Around one in 30 people from school years seven to 11, and year 12 to age 24, are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to August 6 – the highest positivity rate for any age group.

The survey, using information up to August 7, is a little behind the ZOE Symptom Study App – which showed yesterday cases are rising again.

It found infections in the over-60s had also increased, in the first sign those vaccinated in the first waves of the rollout might be seeing immunity waning.

Official case data also shows that the number of people testing positive has gone up by 8.6 per cent in the past seven days.

 

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