NIESR Weekly Covid-19 Tracker: Reproduction Number (R) and Forecasts of New Cases: R value for England increases towards 1

Publication date: 29 Apr 2021 | Publication type: NIESR Covid-19 Tracker | NIESR Author(s): Thamotheram, C Issue 11

 

Main points

  • We report estimates of the R number and forecasts for new cases of Covid-19, hospital admissions, and deaths due to Covid-19 using data that was publicly available as of 27th April 2021.
  • SAGE has declared that due to the “increasing localised nature to managing the epidemic, particularly between nations” the UK wide estimate is less useful. To enable comparison with SAGE estimates we report our estimates for England and not for the UK as a whole.
  • Figure 1 shows that the Reproduction number, R, for England. R is the average number of secondary infections currently generated by an infected individual, and is estimated to be in the range of 0.90 – 1.00 based on specimen date data until 23rd April.
  • For Northern Ireland the R number is in the range 0.80 – 0.95; for Wales, 0.80 – 0.95 and for Scotland, 0.90 – 1.00. The regional R number estimates given in Figure 6 show that, currently, the East Midlands has the lowest R number while the South West has the highest value across England’s regions.
  • Based on our model, by 17th May when step 3 re-opening is due to restart, we expect the trend value of daily cases to be around 1,300; admissions to be below 100, and deaths to be well below 25 (Figures 3-5).
  • To the extent that re-opening of the economy increases transmission, these numbers may be exceeded. At the same time, expansion of the vaccination programme can be expected to reduce transmission. The trajectory that nets out these opposing trends could become evident in the weeks to come.

 

“Based on the latest data on new cases, our estimate of the R number for England lies in the range 0.90 – 1.00, increased relative to last week. This estimate is based on data up to 27th April 2021, including about two week’s data following step 2 of the roadmap out of lockdown. Recent evidence indicates that the vaccine is effective in reducing transmission of Covid-19. However, there is likely still room for cases to start rising again with increased social mobility from lockdown easing accompanied by the unvaccinated majority of the adult population below 40. Hospital admissions and deaths due to Covid-19 continue their steady decline.”

Dr Craig Thamotheram
Senior Economist - Macroeconomic Modelling and Forecasting

 

Please find the full analysis in the attached document.