After nearly three years, the UK’s Health Security Agency will stop publishing COVID modeling data next month.
The increasingly sporadic update of the virus’s R value will cease from January 6, when it is deemed “no longer needed” due to vaccines and treatments.
The reproduction rate for COVID, the number of people an infected person transmits the disease to, first debuted in May 2020 and was released weekly during the peak of the pandemic.
Along with daily case and death figures, it helps the public understand how prevalent the virus is.
From April 2021, the R-value refers to England only and not the UK as a whole – and from April 2022 it will be updated every fortnight instead of weekly.
Dr Nick Watkins, chair of the health agency’s Epidemiological Modeling Review Group, said COVID would still be monitored, but only similarly to common illnesses like the flu.
Modeling data can be reintroduced if the situation requires, for example, if a new variant of interest is identified.
COVID data is still available from the Office for National Statistics.