expert reaction to latest R number and growth rates estimates, published by the government


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The government have published the latest estimates for the COVID-19 R number and growth rates.

Prof Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, The Open University, said:

“This week’s revision from SAGE of the R number for England is, as usual, expressed as a range of possible values, and this week, for the first time since mid-January, that range goes above the threshold value of 1.0. It runs from 0.8 to 1.1 – last week the range was 0.8 to 1.0. This does not mean that R is definitely now above 1, which would mean that numbers of infections would tend to increase. Instead it means that SAGE say that it’s possible that it is above 1. The fact that the range is wider than it was last week means the SAGE are less certain that they were last week about the actual value of R. And, though the whole interval is no longer below 1, more of it is below 1 than above 1, which broadly means that SAGE believe it’s more likely to be below 1 than above 1.



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