Omicron R-rate could be three times higher than current infection rate

A community testing centre
Support us and go ad-free

The R-rate for the Omicron coronavirus (Covid-19) variant could be as high as 3.47, preliminary research suggests. The ‘R-rate’ is the “average number of secondary infections produced by a single infected person”.

High R

Professor Alastair Grant, from the University of East Anglia, has predicted the reproduction rate of the new variant based on figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). He said the high figure for Omicron is due to “a mixture of it being good at transmitting itself and being a partial vaccine escape”. And he added that it’s likely to become the next dominant strain.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Grant projected Omicron’s R-value at between 2.75 and 4.4. This compares with a current overall R-rate of between 0.9 and 1.1 in England, according to the government’s latest figures.

‘Very likely’ that Omicron will dominate cases

Grant added that as a worst case scenario, there may already be 2,500 Omicron cases in England. And 2% of positive swabs taken on 4 December were likely to have been Omicron.

He said:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

These numbers are very preliminary. They are likely to be overestimates as testing has focused on people at higher risk of infection because of their travel history or contact with confirmed Omicron cases.

But it is very likely that Omicron will quickly come to dominate cases in England, and that overall case numbers will increase from their current levels.

England’s latest overall R-number means that on average, every 10 people with coronavirus will infect between nine and 11 others. A total of 437 Omicron cases had been confirmed in the UK as of 7 December – 333 in England, 99 in Scotland, and five in Wales.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us