By Rachael Grealish
The latest R rate figures for COVID-19 have been released for regions in England and the median for all regions is between 0.7 and 0.9.
This news comes today, Thursday July 2, as pubs are set to open this weekend and the Prime Minister has encouraged people of England to ‘take advantage of the hospitality industry’.
The median R rate for the North West, which includes Cumbria, is 0.8 – with the lower crl at 0.62 and the higher at 1.0.
The R number is the rate in which the infection reproduces – if the number is higher than one, then the number of cases increases exponentially, in theory.
The figure relates directly to how many people someone with COVID-19 is likely to spread the virus to – below 1 and the spread slowly decreases, above and it increases.
At the beginning of June in the North West the R rate sat at a worrying 1.01 – one of the highest in England.
Also released today were the latest test and trace figures for the dates between June 18 and 24.
Within the dates 297,427 people were tested for Coronavirus (COVID-19) under Pillars 1 and 2 in England.
Of these, 5,185 people (1.7 percent) tested positive for the virus and a total 6,183 people had their case transferred to the contact tracing system – this includes an extra number of people from the previous week.
Still only 75 percent of people (4,639) were then reached and asked to provide details of recent close contacts and 3,497 people (75.4 percent of those) provided details for one or more recent close contact.
However there were 1,142 people (24.6 percent) said that they had no recent close contacts and 1,383 people (22.4 percent) could not be reached.
An additional 161 people (2.6 percent) could not be reached at all because no communications details were provided for them.
In total 23,028 people were identified as close contacts and of these less than 75 percent (16,804 people) were reached and asked to self-isolate.
The test and trace system has received some amount of criticism since it was launched.
During the Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday, July 1, leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer raised concerns about the test and trace results.
Keir also raised concerns about the nationwide lifting of lockdown restrictions that he said are set to go ahead “without an app, without clear data for local authorities or the world-beating system we were promised.”