R number s topping off - 1.21 - 1.41

We are back with our weekly breakdown of the national and regional R number’s. The data in this article is produced by the Center for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID).

This week, it has again become apparent that the ‘second Coronavirus wave’ has started to take hold in the UK. For weeks, we have been talking about the subtle, but steady increases in the UK’s national (devolved) and regional R numbers; However, now, the rises in infection rates has become a lot more pronounced.

In the last 3 days, the UK’s Department of Health has reported over 7000 new cases, the highest increase in new-cases since the first wave in March.

National R number Breakdown

Overall, the UK-wide R number is currently sitting at (median) 1.11, which comes with its range of anywhere between 0.79-1.49. The large range in the UK-wide R number is due to the large differences between England’s regions, with some of them going past R 2.0!

Devolved nations breakdown

Looking at the UK’s devolved nations, Wales and Scotland are the most worrying.

Overall, Scotland has the highest (median) R number of 1.33, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland on 1.17, and England, which is sitting at an R number of 1.16.

When looking at the R number ranges, Wales is the region with the potential for R to be the highest, with a range of up to 2.17;

*Scotland and Wales all have a fraction of the population that England does. While Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have high R numbers the amounts of actual cases are a drop in the ocean compared to the amounts of cases being observed in England.

Regional R number breakdown

Breaking down the UK (Englands) regional R numbers things do not look good. Four English regions (NE, NW, East Mids and Yorkshire + Humber) now have median R numbers which are above 1.30.

The East Midlands is the region that currently has the highest infection rates, signposted by their worryingly high R number (median) of 1.47; and a range that could be as high as 2.27.


An R number of 2.27 means that for every 1 person who catches COVID-19, 2.27 other people will, in turn, catch the virus. This is a signal that the virus is reproducing exponentially.

Danger areas

The current danger areas are as follows.

East MidlandsR number of 1.47, could be as high as 2.27. Local Lockdowns have been put in place in Leicester and other areas.

ScotlandR number of 1.33, could be as high as 1.97. Local lockdowns have been put in place across the Central Belt by the Scottish Government.

North WestR number of 1.33, could be as high as 1.84. Local Lockdowns have been put in place in Manchester and other areas across the region.

North EastR number of 1.35, could be as high as 1.74. Local Lockdowns are expected to be put in place in the coming days.

WalesR number of 1.17, could be as high as 2.17. Local Lockdowns are in place in Caerphilly with more expected in coming days.

Yorkshire and The HumberR number of 1.31, could be as high as 1.9. Local Lockdowns are in place in across most of Yorkshire.

What comes next?

As this week develops it will be interesting to see how the government acts on the massive increase in new cases which has been observed in the last week. In terms of infection rates, spreads and the number of new cases being reported; The UK is now back in the same situation we were experiencing in March; albeit (thankfully) with fewer deaths.

Last week (Friday), Government reported the UK-wide official R number as being between 0.9 – 1.1; showing no change from the previous week.

As much as we dislike attacking official statistics, we cannot see how the official R number can be correct. In the last two weeks, the daily average amount of new cases has skyrocketed from under 1000 per day to over 2000, yet the ‘official’ R number has not changed.

The ‘official’ government R number will be released on Friday afternoon; As soon as it is released by Government, we will obtain and analyse the data. Follow us on Twitter to see this first!

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