Scientists at Imperial College London believe Cornwall has an 83 per cent chance of becoming a 'hotspot' by the first week of December - just days after the country is due to come out of lockdown.

The data has been produced by the Medical Research Council Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, in conjunction with its mathematics department.

It predicts the probability of local authorities have at least 100 cases per 100,000 people over the coming weeks and becoming a 'hotspot' on its map.

The website predicts an 83 per cent chance of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly having this amount by the week ending December 5 - three days after the second lockdown is currently due to end.

This is based on reported cases and weekly reported deaths, combined with mathematical modelling, which results in the probability of an area becoming a hotspot in the following weeks.

Currently it predicts a 48 per cent chance of the local authority having 100 cases per 100,000 people by the week ending tomorrow (Saturday, November 21), but this rises to 74 per cent in the week ending November 28 and then 83 per cent by December 5.

Falmouth Packet:

The current and predicted rise in daily infections in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Picture: Imperial College London

It follows a spike in cases in recent days, in particular in east Cornwall and the border with Devon.

Wednesday's midweek cluster map update showed Bude having 39 cases showing, and Kingsand, Antony & Maryfield, just across the water from Plymouth, which 65 cases and an individual rolling rate of 1,027.7 cases per 100,000 - well above the national average.

The rolling rate for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as a whole, however, was 86.2 cases per 100,000 people - which is below the national average.

The figures related to new cases by specimen date in the seven days leading up to Friday last week, November 13, with the most recent five days left off due to incomplete data not reflecting the true number of cases.


Imperial College states that its projections for hotspots assume no change in interventions and human behaviour has been made since a week before the last observed data. The data was last updated yesterday, Thursday, November 19.

It adds: "We consider an area to have increasing new infections if our model estimates that the reproduction number R is greater than 1 with probability of at least 90 per cent."

It currently puts the probability of R - the number of people one person with the virus is likely to go on to infect - being greater than 1 at 92 per cent for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Falmouth Packet:

The change in reproduction number and rise in weekly cases in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Picture: Imperial College London

Imperial College also lists a number of limitations to its predictions.

It explains: "Predictions on this page assume no change in current interventions (lockdowns, school closures, and others) in the local area beyond those already taken about a week before the end of observations.

"An increase in cases in an area can be due to an increase in testing. The model currently does not account for this.

"Each area (local authority) is treated independently apart from the overall Rt estimate for its region. Thus the epidemic in a region is neither affected by nor affects any other region. It also does not include importations from other countries.

"The population within an area is considered to be homogeneous - ie all individuals are considered equally likely to be affected by the disease progression."

Falmouth Packet:

The change in new infections between November 8 and 14. Picture: Imperial College London