The coronavirus R rate remains between 1.1 and 1.3, the same level as the previous week, according to scientists advising the government.
The latest advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is that “the epidemic has continued to grow in England over recent weeks”.
R represents the average number of people each COVID-19 positive person goes on to infect.
The growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, is between 2% and 4% for the UK as a whole, according to Sage.
It comes after a study found the R rate has already reduced to 1.0, suggesting the UK has passed the peak of the second wave of COVID.
The Zoe COVID Symptom Study app, run by King’s College London, says there were 42,049 daily new symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the UK on average over the two weeks to 1 November (excluding care homes), down from 43,569 daily cases the week before.
Researchers behind the study said the R rate is currently 1.0, meaning the pandemic is no longer growing.
The study suggests positive steps have been made as England entered in a second nationwide lockdown, with all non-essential retailers as well as pubs, restaurants, gyms and beauty salons closed down until at least 2 December.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College, said the research showed that daily cases of coronavirus are falling in the north of England, and Scotland, and cases overall are moving in the “right direction”.
He said data revealed a “positive sign that we have passed the peak of this second wave”, adding: “We urge everyone to respect the restrictions and help get the number of cases down as soon as possible to help the NHS, end the lockdown and get us in good shape for December.”
If R is greater than one, then the epidemic is growing, if R is less than one the epidemic is shrinking. The higher R is above 1, the more people one infected person infects and so the faster the epidemic grows.
On Friday the government was criticised for displaying “inaccurate” data on graphs presented to a press conference on 31 October during which Boris Johnson used the figures to justify introducing the second lockdown.
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