Coronavirus 'growth rate' rises further in East Anglia

A majority of areas in England (269 out of 315) have seen a fall in case rates Picture: ARCHANT

The coronavirus R rate has risen again in East Anglia - Credit: Archant

The growth rate for coronavirus in the East of England has risen further - meaning the virus might be spreading more quickly than before.

Yet case rates continue to remain low in Suffolk, with seven-day levels in all local authorities in the county below 16 cases per 100,000 as of June 6.

The R rate, or growth rate, is the number of others that one infected person will pass the disease onto.

If it is below 1.0, it means the spread of the illness is slowing.

However, any value above 1.0 is a cause for concern, because those who are infected are passing it on to more people - who in turn are also infecting others.

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It is not possible to be precise about the figure, because it changes depending on people's behaviour or because the level of immunity they have alters.

There is also not an R rate figure published for Suffolk or Essex - instead, the figure covers the East of England as a whole.

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That means the figure is influenced by what is happening in other counties, such as Bedford - a town which has seen higher infection rates.

The government's website adds: "These estimates represent the transmission of Covid-19 two to three weeks ago, due to the time delay between someone being infected, developing symptoms, and needing healthcare."

At the start of March, the R rate in Anglia had fallen to 0.6 to 0.8 - meaning that every 10 people infected were passing it on to between six and eight other people.

By the end of May, the East Anglia rate rose to between 0.9 to 1.1, as the government's roadmap out of lockdown permitted more social mixing.

The R rate in the East of England is now 1.1 to 1.4 - slightly below the England average of between 1.2 and 1.4.

However, hospital admissions in this area remain low. Two people were in East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust hospitals with coronavirus as of June 8, with West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust having one patient.

Some parts of Suffolk and north Essex also have some of highest coronavirus vaccine rates in the country.

Felixstowe has the third highest rate in the country for people aged 16-plus having had their first jab, at 89.3% - while 74.8% of people have had both jabs, which is the fifth highest rate in England.

Much of the country has reopened after lockdown in recent months, even though rules on face masks and social distancing remain in place.

June 21 is the final date in the government's roadmap, when all limits on social contact are due to be lifted.

However, the government always said each date would be subject to review - and there are many who believe the so-called "freedom day" could be delayed following the growth of the Delta variant, first seen in India.

Do you think "freedom day" should be delayed? Let us know by voting in our poll below.

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