UK Covid Modelling

Firstly, just to say, we are all fine!

We are working from home, and everyone - and their families - are healthy and well.

As part of our approach to testing our simulation skills within the company (and part of a service we provide to outside agencies), we apply our FluidFlowEngine tool to everyday concerns, from public health, to renewable energy sources and transport simulation.

Well, dynamic multi-agent modelling comes in many forms, and testing your abilities in a real-world context is a key part of what we do.

Here, for example, is our ongoing model of R (the reproductive number of COVID-19) in England, during 2020-21:

Estimated R in England

When R is below 1.0, then the pandemic is under control in England. When R is above 1.0 then the epidemic is spreading.

The following graph is the result of a real-time R number calculation in England during the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest UK government SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) figure should be available here, so you can make your own assessment as to the accuracy of our model.

For the last seven days that data was available, the R number in England was calculated to be:​​​​​​​​​​   ​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​  ​​​              ​    ​  ​​​​            ​​ ​​                   ​          ​​​​    ​       ​​    ​​​​​​​​ 

  • 28 February     0.71 

  • 1 March            0.70   

  • 2 March            0.70      

  • 3 March            0.69   

  • 4 March            0.69   

  • 5 March            0.69        

  • 6 March            0.72                                                                                

*** Extremely positive news is that the R number is dropping fast in the UK at the moment, and R is currently below 1.0. (Proper) lockdowns do work and in a pandemic, save lives. ***

Results since 1 April 2020 can be downloaded here

A few pieces of data on record: 

  • The lowest R that England went down to during the summer period of lockdown was 0.64.

  • England had an R less than 1.0 between 11 April and 26 August 2020.

  • It was clear (with > 95% probability) that the pandemic was accelerating again on 5 September 2020 (which signalled the emergence of the second wave in the UK). The Government didn't lockdown again until 5 November.

  • The R in England dropped below 1.0 for the second time on 20 November 2020. and rose back above 1.0 again on           5 December 2020.

  • On 3 January 2021 it was clear that the pandemic was accelerating again, and a third National Lockdown was required. The UK Government announced a new National lockdown at 20:00 on 4th January, to start immediately on 5th January 2021.

  • The R number in England dropped below 1.0 for the third time on 18 January 2021.


  • England is currently in the third wave of Covid-19.

  • We expect this lockdown to last around 9 weeks (until early March 2021).

As you might expect, we also model aerosol and droplet transmission, and are involved with a very detailed project comparing closed-room and open, ventilated environments. Those results are provided for academic and Government use, and published separately - but I would recommend, this winter (2020-21), until there is a readily-available vaccine, please open your windows! Your life may depend on it.

If you need any further information, please contact

The Fluid Group (Fluid Flow Ltd)

The Magdalen Centre

Robert Robinson Avenue

The Oxford Science Park

Oxford OX4 4GA, UK


Tel. 0845 055 8571

or: +44 (0)1865 596108

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Contact details:

Dr Paul Barker

Dr Jim Wicks

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