The UK will stop publishing COVID R numbers as cases fall | Daily News Byte


LONDON, Dec 26 (Reuters) – Britain will stop publishing the COVID-19 R number that measures how fast the disease is spreading in the population, saying on Monday it was no longer needed because of vaccines and drugs.

The R number, or “reproduction number”, has been a staple of the coronavirus data bulletin for the past three years. An R value greater than 1 indicates that COVID-19 cases are increasing. For example, an R number of 2 means that a person with Covid-19 infects two other people.

“Now that vaccines and therapeutics have allowed us to get to the stage where we are living with COVID-19, surveillance is reduced but still closely monitored by a number of different indicators, the release of this particular data is no longer necessary.” Nick Watkins, chief data scientist at the UK Health Security Agency, said in a statement.

The R range for England was 1-1.2 as of Friday, the last release of such data. Although cases of Covid-19 have been increasing in the past few weeks, they are significantly lower than the peak of around 30,000 cases per day in England alone in July.

“All data releases are kept under constant review and this modeling data can be re-introduced immediately if necessary, for example, if a new type of concern is identified,” added Watkins.

Britain will continue to publish its weekly flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports and infection surveys.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Louise Havens

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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