Coronavirus infections have soared in recent weeks in the United Kingdom, according to new estimates.
The government’s last R number ranges between 1 and 1.2 which means the epidemic is growing.
And a study of thousands of people in England found that cases doubling every seven to eight days, with a marked increase in the north and among young adults.
Starting Monday, new laws are being introduced regarding the number of people who can socialize at home and abroad.
The R number – reproduction – describes how many people, on average, each infected person transmits the virus to.
If it is higher than one, as it is now, that means the number of cases is increasing rapidly.
The virus remains at much lower levels across the UK than at the height of the epidemic in April.
Cases decreased dramatically in May and remained low in June and July, but several large studies of the general population now indicate a resurgence.
A REACT study of more than 150,000 volunteers in England found “transmission acceleration” at the end of August and early September.
Infection levels were high throughout England but especially in the Northeast, Northwest and Yorkshire.
There were increases in positive cases in all age groups up to age 65, with the highest growth rates in the 18-24 age group.
Professor Paul Elliott, study director at Imperial College London, said the data clearly showed a “disturbing trend in coronavirus cases” as cases were growing rapidly across England and “no longer concentrated in the key workers.”
He said there was evidence of a “community epidemic” rather than the result of more people being tested.
Nicola Sturgeon warned that the average number of cases in Scotland “is tripling every three weeks”.
However, in Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says there was no increase in cases during the first week of September, and it is estimated that 1,200 people contracted the coronavirus in the week between August 30 and September 5.
In England, the equivalent estimate was 39,700 – 11,000 more than in the previous week.
The Office for National Statistics bases its numbers on thousands of home swab tests, whether or not people have symptoms
Katherine Kent, of the ONS infection survey, said the results indicated “an increase in cases of Covid-19 virus in England in recent weeks, with higher rates of infection among people between the ages of 17 and 34 years.”
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