The number of Covid-19 infections across England is falling as a whole, with the reproductive rate – the R – below 1 in some regions, University of Cambridge researchers have said. The Medical Research Council (MRC) Biostatistics Unit Covid-19 Working Group said the current estimate of the daily number of new infections occurring across England is 60,200.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is due to release its own figures later, while Government scientists will release their own R rate, which refers to the number of people an infected person will pass the virus on to.
The Cambridge researchers said regions with a current R rate below 1 are the East of England, London, the South East, West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.
They say it is above 1 in the South West, North West, North East and East Midlands.
The team suggests the proportion of the population who have ever been infected could stand at 30% in London, 26% in the North West and 21% in the North East, dropping to 13% in the South East and 8% in the South West.
They added: “The growth rate for England is now estimated to be -0.02 per day. This means that, nationally, the number of infections is declining but with a high degree of regional variation.
“Infections are still increasing in the South West and North East, whilst plateauing in the West Midlands and East Midlands.”
The team also predicts that the number of deaths occurring daily is likely to be between 518 and 860 on January 28.
It comes as Public Health England (PHE) released data on Wednesday showing infection rates had fallen in most regions of England across all age groups apart from the over-80s.
At the same time, however, the PHE surveillance report noted that there were more people being admitted to hospitals and intensive care units.
NHS England data shows that around one in five major hospital trusts in England had no spare adult critical care beds on January 10.
Elsewhere, the Zoe Covid Symptom Study UK Infection Survey from King’s College London put the UK R rate at 0.9.
It said cases have also plateaued in most age groups.
Tim Spector, who is leading the study, said: “It’s great to see case numbers falling in most regions but numbers are still worryingly high and hospitals will stay under pressure for some time yet.
“With such high numbers and growing evidence new strains are highly transmissible, things can still take a turn for the worse. We need numbers to keep falling before we make any changes to current restrictions.”