What Is India’s ‘R-Factor’ In Corona Virus Calculations?
India has recorded most steep surges in the COVID-19 pandemic. As cases continue to surge across regions, there is no confirming when we will see the end.
However, a good recovery rate, low mortality rate and the increasing push towards developing a stable and safe vaccine are making our battle a bit easier. Now, experts have also found that the virus’s ‘R’ factor, which indicates the reproduction rate and is a critical parameter to map the spread of the disease went below 1, for the first time since the pandemic started to spread in India.
02/6Are good recovery rates indicating positive news?
According to experts, many of the high-burden states in India, which are experiencing a heavy caseload have witnessed a drop of the R-value below 1 in the recent weeks.
While Delhi, which is in the middle of a second wave is seeing the R-value hover just a little around one, states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka, which were the worst-affected have registered a rate of 0.90.
If the trend continues, and good interventions, both medical and non-pharmaceutical are continued to be practised, we might be nearing the end of the deadly pandemic in the coming months.
As of today, India has crossed the 5.82 million infection mark, with over 92,000 deaths.
03/6What is ‘R’ rate?
According to epidemiologists, when R number drops below 1, it also acts as an indicator of the pandemic waning out. If the R rate dips below 1, it means the number of recoveries is outweighing the total number of infected cases, meaning that the outbreak would soon die naturally.
For example, if R equals 2, it would mean that an infected person could spread the infection onto two people, who, in turn, could further spread it to others, which is exponential.
If R is less than 1, an infected person may not spread the infection at all or at max spread it to 1 person, which will make it easier to manage the spread.
04/6Why is this so important to track?
R number could signify how good or bad a given region is doing in the fight against coronavirus. It could also indicate the states where COVID-19 is seeing exponential growth and the ones which could be doing good.
In Delhi, which was hailed for being a model state to flatten the COVID rate, the R number dropped to 0.75. It has only bounced back to a little over 1, in the middle of the second wave.
05/6It could tell us about how slow or fast the virus is spreading
A rapidly and steadily increasing R rate could mean that the virus is spreading at a much faster, and in a dangerous way than it should be.
As long as states continue to see a downward spiral in the R number, defeating coronavirus could be easy.
06/6R number could point to areas of concern
According to Professor Sitabhadra Sinha, Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, who has extensively worked on graphing the R number trends during the pandemic, figures could be a key to emphasize areas which need better care and attention. Speaking to the Print, he said,
“We will still see new infections happening, but the important point is that recoveries are more. If the R-value can be maintained below 1, the epidemic will eventually die out but we need to have R less than 1 for a considerable length of time for this to happen,
States, such as Delhi, who are now mapping a high R number could also be reversing the progress they made in the fight against COVID-19, he added.
“…Earlier we had seen that in Delhi, after keeping R less than 1 for more than a month, the R suddenly increased beyond 1, thereby losing the gains they had made,” #innlive