England’s coronavirus cases are at risk of spiralling out of control with a R number as high as 1.2.
The figure stands between 1 and 1.2, the government has estimated today, meaning the growth rate sits in a range of -1% to +3%.
The estimated growth rate means the number of new infections is either shrinking by as little as 1% or growing by as much as 3% every day.
Every part of the country has an r-number higher or spanning one – the number above which infections can grow exponentially.
While the R rate may appear relatively low, it has allowed for a doubling in coronavirus cases in England every seven or eight days.
It is estimated that between August 22 and September 7, 13 people per 10,000 were infected, compared with four people per 10,000 between July 24 and August 11.
According to the latest round of the Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission study, Covid-19 cases are shown as no longer clustering in healthcare or care home settings, as seen in May and June.
Experts say this suggests the virus is now spread more widely in the community.
Out of 152,909 swab results, 136 were positive, and prevalence doubled every 7.7 days, the figures suggest.
The rise in infections across England has seen some towns forced to adopt localised restrictions.
People living in Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Bury, Trafford, Tameside and Bolton cannot meet anyone outside their own household, or support bubble, in a home or garden.
Bolton, which has more than 120 cases per 100,000 people, has had extra restrictions imposed on it, meaning residents are restricted when it comes to visiting care homes.
Restaurants are only allowed to serve takeaways.
While the rise in recorded in infections is undeniable, much has been made of the rising coronavirus case rate and the low death rate compared to the height of the pandemic.
Some have suggested that this means the virus is losing its potency – something Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance dismissed out of hand on Wednesday.
Experts from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have said that the current low numbers of deaths do not reflect how Covid-19 is currently spreading.
In England the R rate is between 1 and 1.2 and the daily growth rate between +1 to +4.
This compares to the East of England (0.9-1.2 and -1 to +4), London (1.1-1.3 and +2 to +4), the Midlands (0.9-1.1 and -1 to +3), the North East and Yorkshire (1-1.2 and +1 to +5), the North West (1.1-1.3 and +2 to +5), the South East (1-1.2 and 0 and 0 to +4) and the South West (09-1.2 and -1 to +4).
One area in the North West which may be veering towards a localised lockdown is Merseyside.
It was announced earlier today that Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley and St Helens have all been placed on the central government’s coronavirus watchlist.
If the situation there worsens residents may see some of their freedoms curbed.
The rising rates in positive coronavirus tests come despite the fact that many people have been unable to find out whether they have the bug.
It was reported last week that some people seeking a test had been told to travel hundreds of miles to drive through centres.
With many people missing out on a swab, the rate may be even higher than official figures suggest.