ENGLAND’S official R rate could be as high as 1.4 as cases of the Delta variant have trebled.
It comes after it was revealed that the June 21 unlocking could be pushed back amid fears that infections are spreading across the country.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed yesterday the Delta variant now makes up 91 per cent of all UK cases.
The government is monitoring if its spread leads to a further surge in hospitalisations and infections.
Last week the R rate was as high as 1.3 in the North West, where the variant has taken over.
This week Sage said that the rate in the North West could be as high as 1.5, the highest in the country.
The R rate reflects the spread of the virus and the last time the range was 1.2 to 1.4 was in October.
This was when tier restrictions had first been introduced in England after cases spiked.
It comes as:
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- Delta variant cases treble in week to 42,000 stoking fears of June 21 delay
- Fresh hint June 21 could be delayed by a MONTH as minister warns UK must be ‘careful’ & not ‘squander hard fought gains’
- Rising Covid cases will only become problem if people start dying, top government scientist claims
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More testing and extra vaccine capacity has been rolled out across the UK due to the spread of the Delta variant[/caption]
Data from Public Health England shows that a cluster of cases have emerged in the North West, where over 2,000 people a day are now testing positive for Covid-19.
Further data today revealed that at least 42,000 cases in the UK have been caused by the Delta variant.
It means infections have risen by 243 per cent since Public Health England’s (PHE) last update a week ago.
But PHE claims the increase in the overall UK total – from 12,341 last week to 42,323 this week – is due to a change in test data.
It said the rise has been partly driven by a reduction in test turnaround times and a faster process for identifying cases of the variant.
Last week the R rate in England is was 1.0 to 1.2. according to Government advisers at Sage. The week before Sage said the value was 1.0 to 1.1.
The North West has the highest R rate, between 1.3 and 1.5.
The East, London, and the South East all have an R rate between 1.1 and 1.4.
The Midlands sits between 1.1 and 1.3 and the South West is between 1 and 1.3.
The North East and Yorkshire currently has the lowest R rate in the country at 1 to 1.2.
The R rate is the average number of secondary infections produced by a single infected person.
On February 12, 2021, Sage said the R rate in the UK had fallen below 1. An R rate below 1 is good as it means the spread of the virus is slowing.
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.
PHE today said that a rise in cases had partly been driven by a reduction in test turnaround times and a faster process for identifying cases of the variant.
Lawrence Young, a virologist and oncologist at University of Warwick told The Sun: “It’s of course difficult to tell how much of the increase in infections with the Delta variant is really due to rapid genotyping.
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“I think it is obvious that the jump in cases is being driven by the Delta variant.
“Its current doubling time in just under a week and infections are growing in nearly all local authority areas.”
MPs said the figures should “set alarm bells ringing in government”.
The strain has also shown to be around 60 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) strain, PHE said.