THERE are fears coronavirus may be spreading rapidly once again in the city.

The Government is trying to keep the R Number, which is the number of people an infected person will pass it on to, below one.

However, there are fears it may already be above one in Brighton and Hove, with research suggesting the city is fourth highest out of about 180 authorities nationally.

If it is greater than one, the epidemic will grow exponentially and residents face a second wave of the virus.

If it is kept below one, the epidemic will ultimately disappear.

The Argus:

New analysis compares the number of confirmed cases reported by an authority over a two-week period to estimate the trend of this number.

Last week, Brighton and Hove registered 18 new cases.

The week before, it registered eight new cases.

>> Read more: Latest coronavirus figures for Brighton and Sussex

The analysis calculated the estimated R-value in Brighton and Hove on Monday was 1.68. Two weeks earlier it was 0.45.

Posting the findings to crowd-sharing research platform Deckzero, the researchers said: “This approximated value is not the instantaneous reproduction number.

“However, it does bear the same unit and trending as [the instantaneous reproduction number] and thus may offer a glimpse into how might have changed during the last 14-day period.

The Argus:

“When cases are small, R will fluctuate more; this should not be treated as noise as the infection grows exponentially is undisrupted.”

Brighton has a relatively low number of cases, so this number is likely to fluctuate.

The analysis plots the R number in East Sussex at 1.32, compared with 0.43 two weeks prior. In West Sussex it is 0.69 compared with 0.49 two weeks prior.

As countries think about how to lift lockdown, the aim will be to keep the reproduction number below one.

The Government has announced plans to deal with flare-ups of the virus in parts of England in the coming months.

This could mean schools or workplaces in some areas of the country are shut down if they have an outbreak.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the idea was part of the test, track and trace system designed to prevent a second wave.

On May 15 it was reported that the infection rate in the UK had gone up and was approaching rapid growth, according to Government scientific advice.

The so-called R-number was reported to be between 0.7 and 1.0 nationally.

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