Coronavirus is now rapidly spreading again in Britain for the first time since March, prompting ministers to urge the public to limit its activities.
Government data have a so-called “R” rate – fertility numbers that show how fast the virus grows – between 1.0 and 1.2, driven by an increase in cases among young people. The virus is spreading rapidly when above R1.
A separate study by Imperial College of over 150,000 people in England estimated the R number as 1.7 and found that the virus is now doubling every seven to eight days.
The R value is the number of people to whom an infected person will pass the virus; The number of cases increases rapidly when the number exceeds 1. Government scientists believe that the R rate was above 1 in early March, just before the national lockout of the U.K.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it underscored the need for people to follow the law and socialize in groups of no more than six.
“We have seen worldwide how cases increase, initially among younger people, hospitalization and fatalities,” he said. “The epidemic is not over, and everyone’s role is to keep the virus at bay and avoid further restrictions.”
The study by Imperial College and Ipsos Mori estimated that 13 people per 10,000 people were infected between August 22 and September 7, compared to four people between July. 24 and August 11.
It said the Kovid-19 cases were no longer running in care homes, as seen in May and June, suggesting that the virus is now more widely spread in the community. Infection is increasing in all adult age groups under 65, with higher rates being seen in people Older 18 to 24. Infections are highest in Yorkshire and Humber, North East and North West.
“What we are seeing is evidence of epidemics in the community and not the result of increased testing capacity,” said Paul Elliott of Imperial College.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure from his own conservative members of parliament to reconsider the “rule of six” law, which was unveiled this week.
Former minister Steve Baker told BBC Radio 4 on Friday, “It’s time to move towards a voluntary system, unless the government can demonstrate otherwise.” “It is time for us to start life like a free people.”
The government’s estimated R rate represents the average position over the past few weeks, so does not fully reflect recent changes in transmission that may be due to the reopening of schools and more people returning to work.
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