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Virus Spreading Exponentially in U.K. for First Time Since March

Coronavirus is now spreading rapidly again across the U.K. for the first time since March, prompting new restrictions in Birmingham, the country’s second biggest city. Government figures put the so-called “R” rate — the reproduction number that shows how fast the virus multiplies — between 1.0 and 1.2, driven by a surge in cases among younger people. The virus is spreading exponentially when R is above 1.

A separate study by Imperial College of more than 150,000 people in England estimated the R number as 1.7 and found the virus is now doubling every seven to eight days. The R value is the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to. Government scientists believe the R rate was last above 1 in early March, just before the U.K’s national lockdown.

Areas with a rising number of cases now face local lockdowns to help prevent the spread of the virus. Residents in Birmingham and the neighboring boroughs of Solihull and Sandwell will be banned from mixing with people outside their own household from next Tuesday, West Midlands mayor Andy Street said.

A picture of rising infection rates was confirmed on Friday by a survey led by the Office for National Statistics. Around one in 1,400 people had the virus in the first week of September, with new cases running at around 3,200 a day. The increase was driven by people aged 17 to 34, the survey found. U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it underlined the need for people to abide by the law and socialize in groups of no more than six.

Virus Spreading Exponentially in U.K. for First Time Since March, Bloomberg, Sep 11

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