What is the R rate and how can I track it in my area? – The Sun

THE R rate, also known as the reproduction number, helps the government measure the rate of coronavirus infections.

It gives an indication of the number of people that one person with coronavirus is likely to pass it on to.

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What is the R rate in my area?

Data published by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which advises the government, last week revealed that the R rate for the UK as a whole is somewhere between 0.9-1.1.

According to data from the Covid Symptom Tracker app, it could be "as high as 1.2".

Every region has a range that includes number 1.

Last week's data showed that in the South East, the range was at 0.8-1.0, while the South West was between 0.8-1.1.

The Midlands, which is seeing some areas such as Birmingham in local lockdown, was at 0.8-1.0.

Yorkshire, the North East and the North West had a rate of 0.8-1.

It means that the upper estimate for every region in England is now either at or above the 1.

How can I track the R rate in my area?

Updates to the R rate are published on the government website.

Previously, the only data seen publicly was from Public Health England and researchers at the University of Cambridge, who regularly nowcast and forecast Covid-19 infections and deaths. 

What is the R rate?

As of September 4, the R number range for the UK is 0.9-1.1.

If a virus has an R rate of three, it means that every sick person will pass the disease on to three other people if no containment measures are introduced.

It's also worth pointing out that the R number is a measure of how infectious a disease is, but not how deadly

Based on estimates, the R rate can only be used as a guide rather than an up-to-the-minute representation of the pandemic.

When there are low case numbers or a high degree of variability in transmission across regions, the estimates are insufficiently robust to inform policy decisions.

Why is the R rate different across the UK?

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.

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