According to research by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge, London has the lowest infection rate across the UK.
London’s reproduction rate, also known as the ‘R’, now stands at about 0.4, compared to an average rate of around 0.75 elsewhere in the country. The ‘R’ refers to the number of new people infected by each existing case. This means that, in the capital, for every ten people who are infected, the virus will be passed on to four new people—as opposed to 7 or 8 in other places around the UK.
Ultimately this means that London is only reporting about 24 new cases per day—which, compared to the several hundred being reported each day during the peak, is quite remarkable. The figures show that the number of daily infections in London is now halving every 3.5 days, which could mean COVID-19 is totally wiped out within the next two weeks.
The government’s exit plan states that, in order to continue easing lockdown, the R value must remain below one. The nationwide rate of infection is clearly slowing, so we’re certainly headed in the right direction. For context, before lockdown started, London’s R value was 2.8, and the city was the epicentre of the UK outbreak—so this is quite an incredible turnaround.
This study is likely to put pressure on the government to consider easing the lockdown at varying speeds for different parts of the country. The idea hasn’t been ruled out, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously said that government was “looking at” the possibility.
See also: Should we be wearing face masks when we leave the house?
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Also published on Medium.