Dame McLean said the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in the community had risen steeply in September and October but had slowed down.
She told a Downing Street briefing that while it had not flattened out yet the data was from before the second national lockdown began in England and areas with high levels of infection had already started to see a drop.
Dame Angela added: “What you see is even before national restrictions were brought in, in the parts of the country where the amount of infections was already very high the progress of the epidemic had already flattened off, that’s the north west and Yorkshire and Humber.
“Those also happen to include the parts of the country that were under tier 3 restrictions so that’s good news that some parts of the country have already flattened off.”
– R rate in England still above one
England’s estimated R rate, or the average number of people infected by someone with coronavirus, is still above one, the deputy chief scientific adviser has said.
Dame Angela McLean told a Downing Street briefing that the figure, putting R between one and 1.2, would not yet show the impact of England’s lockdown.
She said: “The best way to think about that is that if we had 10 infectious people on average, between them, they would infect 12 other new people.”
The R number had been “really quite high” in late September and early October, between 1.2 and 1.5, but “has been falling, though it has not yet fallen below one”.
“Only when R is less than one will the number of infections in this country be falling.”