Covid cases are FALLING and R rate is 0.9 – app data from four days ago reveal

CORONAVIRUS cases are falling and the R rate is at 0.9, according to the most up-to-date app data.

There are currently 35,963 daily new symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK, according to swab data from just four days ago.

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This compares to 42,049 daily new symptomatic cases this time last week, according to the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app.

The data also shows that the R rate in the North West is now at 0.8 – the lowest in the country, despite being the Covid epicentre just weeks ago.

Daily new cases in the region are now back down to the same levels they were at the beginning of October.

The Midlands is the only region where cases are still going up – with numbers now reaching the same levels as the North East and Yorkshire, and overtaking the North West.

Researchers say that the number of daily new cases in the South East and South West have now stopped rising but have yet to start declining.

These regions still have significantly less cases than the North West, North East and the Midlands.


Professor Tim Spector, who leads the study, earlier revealed that the app showed the R rate for the country was now below the crucial value of 1.

He said that it was at 0.9 in each of the four devolved nations from their most recent findings on November 9.

Speaking today Prof Spector, an epidemiologist at King's College London, said: “Having peaked at the end of October, cases coming down across most areas of the UK is good news, but the numbers are still high in most areas.

"With a prevalence of over 500,000 infected people there is still a lot of virus in the population.

"Yesterday, we reported that the R value was below 1 across all UK nations for the first time and we need this trend to continue.

"A caution is that rates are still increasing in the Midlands for reasons that are unclear.

"We aren’t out of trouble yet, but with numbers falling and the news of a vaccine, it feels like the end is in sight.”

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study figures are based on around a million weekly users self-reporting symptoms and positive swab tests.

The latest survey figures were based on the data from 13,460 recent swab tests done between October 25 to November 8.


It comes as another major study, published yesterday, suggests that the R rate was already falling before the country was plunged into lockdown.

The REACT study from Imperial College London suggests the value was 1.2 between October 25 and November 2 – when a three-tier system was in place.

Experts say infections rose sharply across the country with more than one in 80 people infected, double that reported in early October.

They observed a drop in prevalence at the end of last month but then a quick uptick at the start of November.

The researchers say they cannot be sure about the reason for this, but the weather, October half-term, and people speculating about an imminent lockdown and heading to the pubs may have had some impact.


However, according to the experts because of the timing of their data collection, and the date of the lockdown announcement, the latter is unlikely.

The introduction of tier measures across different regions of England may also have reduced transmission at the time, the researchers suggest.

According to round six of Imperial College London's React study, infections continue to rise quickly with prevalence of infection in the community in England at 1.3 per cent or 130 people per 10,000 infected.

The figures are based on data from October 16 to November 2 analysing the swab results of 160,175 participants.

This is up from 60 people per 10,000 in the round five report, which covered the period between September 18 to October 5.


Regional prevalence of infection was highest in the North West (2.4 per cent, up from 1.2 per cent), Yorkshire and The Humber (2.3 per cent up from 0.84 per cent).

While it was lowest in the South East (0.69 per cent up from 0.29 per cent) and East of England (0.69 per cent up from 0.30 per cent).

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial, said: "Our latest round of React testing offers robust data on England's coronavirus situation up until just three days before the country entered its second nation-wide lockdown.

"We've shown that the prevalence of infection has remained high, reinforcing the need for people to act to help bring infections down and control the virus.

"These important data will be a critical baseline from which to determine if the new measures are effective at curbing the growth of the epidemic."

According to the study, the epidemic has progressed from specific at-risk groups to a more generalised pattern of transmission.

Following the rapid growth reported during the first half of round six, the researchers described little evidence of growth during the second half.

They estimate the R value was 1.56 for the period between October 16 and October 25, and 0.85 for the period to November 2.

Referring to the dip and then rise at the start of lockdown, Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said it was difficult to weigh the alternative explanations.

He explained: "In terms of timing, if it's behaviour change, then the downturn is a result of behaviour change that would predate the first Monday in which most parts of England were in half-term.

"And then the uptick, and the very lowest data point that we observe is on the day, I think, where there was most speculation about lockdown."

He added: "Assuming that there's more than one contributing factor to these patterns, then the tiering certainly could contribute to it."

Prof Elliott said: "We have a good estimate of the prevalence immediately before lockdown.

"And I think that will be very important when we look at the effects of lockdown – clearly we don't currently know.

"So I think there are a multitude of things happening around that period."

Prof Riley said that by the end of the study period, the experts were observing the very highest prevalence they had observed at any point nationally.


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