Survivor urges people to stick to social distancing as scientists warn 'R' rate could be rising in the Anglia region

Damion Brown and his family Credit: ITV Anglia

Scientists at the University of Cambridge are warning there's evidence the transmission rate in the Anglia region is rising.

The R number here is now estimated at around 0.9 - up from 0.7.

The R number indicates how many other people will be infected by a single person. If it's above one, then the pandemic is getting worse and more and more people will be infected.

If it's below one the number of new cases will gradually decline.

The Bio-statistics Unit in Cambridge says the rise in the region is probably down to increasing mobility and mixing between households and workplaces.

A further 17 hospital patients have died in the region taking the total number of deaths to more than 5,300.

Bedfordshire saw the biggest daily increase with eight more deaths and health officials in Northamptonshire have warned about the situation there.

The research from Cambridge is just one study and the government experts use a wide range of other data. They say, overall the R number is static at just below one - but it's close.

Tomorrow marks the first weekend with the lockdown rules slightly relaxed, as people will be able to socialise with upto six people while keeping a healthy social distance of two metres.

But it's not just scientists advising caution, those who have recovered from the virus are asking people to take it seriously too.

Damion Brown wasn't sure if he'd ever see his family again.

He nearly died of coronavirus two months ago.

Now he's back home in Milton Keynes, and begging everyone to take the virus seriously.

Damion Brown:

"Hearing the cardiac arrest alarms going off, thinking, that could be me at some point, you know, and then I found out that 8 people died while I was there, it's terrifying and you don't have anyone there to hold your hand, you don't have your family there. They kept me going through WhatsApp and calling me on the phone every day and it motivated me, but it's terrifying. It's terrifying, because people are dying by themselves and people need to remember that."

Damion Brown
  • Watch Sarah Cooper's report here:

Across the region, the number of people dying with coronavirus is falling.

But last week - Northamptonshire bucked the trend and saw an increase.

If we look at the number of patients dying since the start of the pandemic - there's been a peak and decline in Northamptonshire.

But since the middle of May - the line on that graph has flattened and is stubbornly failing to fall, like elsewhere.

Covid-19 deaths in Northamptonshire hospitals Credit: ITV Anglia

Dr Joanne Watt, Chair, Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group:

"I think the most important thing is that we do get it under control, that people wash their hands, keep their social distance and that, actually, we get it back under control, but it's not clear at the moment why the cases are not falling as quickly as we would like them to. I am optimistic that we will be able to make them fall, but it's very much in the hands of our population, about keeping themselves safe and that people maintain social distancing."

Dr Joanne Watt, Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group