Reports have suggested that nearly 100,000 people in England are catching Covid every day – with experts saying the second wave has reached a ‘critical’ stage.
The interim data from round six of the React study, which uses data and swab results from 86,000 people between October 16 and October 25, estimates there are around 96,000 new infections per day.
The overall prevalence of infection in the community in England was found to be 1.28% in the study – which rounds up to around 128 people per 10,000
Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said: ‘Our data show that there’s absolutely no reason to expect that exponential rise to change to the next few weeks, regardless of what we do, because we’re measuring infections occurring in the community.’
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The data has also suggested that the R rate in England could be highest in London – but just what is the current rate?
What is the R rate in London?
According to the Government website, the current R rate in London is around 1.1-1.3.
That would mean that for every confirmed case of Covid in the capital, around another 1.1-1.3 people will be infected with the virus.
However ,experts have now suggested that the R rate in London could be as high as 2.9 – which would suggest that almost three other people will be infected by every person with Covid.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial, said: ‘I think we were disappointed to see that actually we were still in this rapid growth phase – except, as we say, in the North East where there does seem to have been a turn down, but it’s still growing.
‘It’s more critical, because it’s gone up more and it’s continuing to go up. ‘And also we’re seeing this increase in the rate of rise, rather than decrease in the rate of rise which we did spot before.
‘So there was a period when the rate of rise was decreasing, and we were hopeful that the policies that have been implemented were turning the rates down and ultimately turning the prevalence down.
‘But what we see this time is an increase in the rate of rise and not only a high prevalence in the north, increasing rapidly increasing prevalence in the south.’
In an ideal situation the R rate would need to be below one to prevent the virus from spreading exponentially.
While the rate was driven to below one during lockdown and over the summer as society began to reopen, it has risen above that figure as the second wave rolled in across the country.
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