A major study on the spread of coronavirus in England has produced what seems to be a rare glimmer of hope: that the current outbreak, while still growing, is doing so at a slower rate than at the start of September.
The research by Imperial College London shows that the R number has fallen from 1.7 to 1.1 – which still means more people are being infected, but at a slightly slower pace.
As an illustration, where before it would have taken 10 people to infect on average a further seventeen people, now those same 10 people would infect a further 11 people.
What’s more, the doubling rate – the length of time it takes for case numbers to double – has reduced from seven to eight days to 10 days.
According to Professor Paul Elliott, the director of the Imperial study known as React, the new rules do seem to be taking effect.
“In the very recent data, and we’re talking about people who did swabs last Saturday, it does seem that the rate of increase of the infection may have slowed a bit,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“So that does suggest that perhaps some of the recent announcements and the biggest focus again on people paying attention to the public health message, which is social distancing, handwashing, face covers and getting tested if they have symptoms and then isolation, seems to be beginning to work.”
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