Covid R number continues to fall despite fears of winter virus surge

England’s Covid R rate is estimated to have fallen for the second week in a row.

Scientists now believe the crucial figure stands between 0.8 and 1.0 which compares with between 0.9 and 1.1 previously.

R signifies whether the epidemic is growing exponentially.

An R value between 0.8 and 1.0 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 10 other people.

The growth rate for the virus has also fallen from between -1% and +2% last week to between -3% and +1% now.

This means that the number of new infections is broadly flat, shrinking by up to 3% every day or growing by up to 1% every day.

Just two weeks ago R was estimated to be as high as 1.3, leading to fears that the country was heading towards 100,000 cases a day.

But the infection rate stablised at the end of last month and has been falling throughout November.

Earlier, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed Covid-19 infection levels continued to fall across the UK last week.

Around one in 60 people in private households in England had Covid in the week to November 6, down from one in 50 the previous week.

One in 60 is the equivalent of about 925,400 people and is slightly below the proportion who were estimated to have coronavirus at the peak of the second wave in early January, suggesting infection levels are still high.

The ONS said rates in England have decreased in the latest week for all age groups, except for those from school year 12 to age 24 and for people aged 35 to 49, where the trend is uncertain.

Rates remained highest for those in school years seven to 11, at 4.8%.

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