THE R rate has gone up for the first time in weeks as Prof Chris Whitty has warned there are “very sick” youngsters in hospital.
Government experts said today the R rate in England is estimated to be 0.9 to 1.2, up from 0.8 to 1 last week.
The R rate is relatively the same across all regions in the country, but slightly lower (0.9 to 1.1) in London, North East and Yorkshire and the North West.
The value has now gone up for the first time after six weeks of a downward or stable trend, after Brits were given more freedoms.
It comes as England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has urged people not to delay getting a vaccine, saying there are some “very sick” young adults in hospital with the virus.
He tweeted: “The great majority of adults have been vaccinated. Four weeks working on a Covid ward makes stark the reality that the majority of our hospitalised Covid patients are unvaccinated and regret delaying.
“Some are very sick including young adults. Please don’t delay your vaccine.”
Data reveals vaccines are continuing to save lives, even if they are not 100 per cent effective.
Of the 7,285 people admitted to hospital with Delta so far, 31 per cent were unvaccinated, according to new figures from Public Health England, while 10 per cent of people had one dose, and 58 per cent had two.
A total of 1,189 people have died of the Delta Covid variant in England
The most deaths in over 50s were in those who were fully vaccinated (61 per cent).
But in under 50s, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) were unvaccinated.
When the R rate is above 1, it means the epidemic is getting worse. A value below 1 is desired because it means the outbreak is shrinking.
The R reflects the number of people an infected person passes the virus onto, and can be suppressed with lockdowns.
The figure published today reflects the outbreak trends three weeks ago as opposed to right now.
But more recent data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals that Covid cases are relatively stable, or slightly coming down.
The ONS said that in the week to August 14, 698,100 people in England are estimated to have had Covid.
It’s the equivalent of one in 80 people, down slightly from one in 75 in the previous week.
Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of people of any region likely to test positive for coronavirus – around one in 55.
The West Midlands had the lowest estimate of around one in 120.
The ONS said rates have increased for those aged 35 to 49 but have decreased for those in school years seven to 11, for 25 to 34-year-olds and for people aged 70 and over.
But Covid is still most prevalent in those aged between school year 12 and 24, with one in 35 people infected.
Bumpy winter ahead
Despite figures suggesting the outbreak is levelling off, experts fear the return of schools in September will cause rates to surge again – especially if working adults also return to the office.
Around 100 people are currently dying of the virus in the UK each day, and 30,000 testing positive.
Professor Peter Openshaw said high case numbers and deaths are “very worrying” and warned that “we just don’t really know what’s going to happen” as winter approaches.
Asked about the daily figures, Prof Openshaw told Times Radio: “I think it’s very worrying. This is a very large number.
“If you think, 34,000 people, that’s a lot of people testing positive, and to be seeing over 100 deaths a day at this stage, you know before schools have gone back, while the weather is still relatively good, we’re not back into winter yet.
“I think we’re all really anxious about what’s going to happen once we return to normality.”
He added: “We’re going into the winter with really very high levels of infection out there in the community and we just don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
Source: The Sun