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    Britain’s coronavirus R rate is BELOW one and now at 0.9, Covid Symptom Study claims

    Britain’s coronavirus R rate is finally BELOW one for the first time since August and now at 0.9, Covid Symptom Study claims

    • Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, said cases ‘falling slowly’
    • Estimate is lower than SAGE’s official estimate, which last Friday said 1.1 to 1.3 

    The R rate of the coronavirus in Britain is now 0.9 meaning the outbreak has started shrinking, scientists on the Covid Symptom Study claimed today. 

    Professor Tim Spector, the King’s College London epidemiologist who runs the project, said his most up-to-date data ‘shows rates of new disease falling slowly below 36,000 with R of 0.9 in all nations’.

    The study is based on health reports from more than a million users of the Covid Symptom Study app, by health-tech company ZOE, and coronavirus test results logged by volunteers as well as official data.

    Although unofficial, it has been consistently estimating infection rates and the R value across the UK since the start of the pandemic.

    It is more optimistic than the official R rate, produced by SAGE, which was last week said to be somewhere between 1.1 and 1.3. Even SAGE’s rate, however, has been creeping downwards, dropping from a possible 1.3 to 1.6 for the UK in October. 

    The Covid Symptom Study now suggests that some 35,963 people are catching symptomatic Covid-19 each day in Britain, down from 44,000 per day at the end of October.

    The team’s estimates are lower than those produced by the ONS – which last week said there were 45,700 infections per day – but have followed roughly the same trend during the second wave, with both now suggesting cases are coming down.

    Professor Spector said new coronavirus infections are declining across England, and now sit – for the whole UK – at around 36,000 per day

    A soldier is pictured staffing a coronavirus swab testing centre at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool

    A soldier is pictured staffing a coronavirus swab testing centre at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool

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