New Delhi: Even as fears continue unabated across the country of an impending third wave of the Covid-19 infections, reports of an increase in the ‘R’ factor or reproduction rate of the coronavirus in some states and Union Territories has raised fresh concerns.
In view of the same, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued an advisory to the states and Union Territories to ensure Covid Appropriate Behaviour is followed by all.
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Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, who has written to the Chief Secretaries and Administrators of the states and Union Territories in this regard, pointed out that the increase in ‘R’ factor (reproduction number which indicates the speed at which infection is spreading) in some of the states is a matter of concern.
“You may be aware that any increase in ‘R’ factor above 1.0 is an indicator of spread of Covid-19. Therefore, it is important that the authorities concerned shall be made responsible for ensuring Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in all crowded places,” the advisory said.
What Is ‘R’ Factor Of Covid-19?
Indicating the speed at which the Covid-19 infection is spreading in the country, the ‘R’ factor is the mathematical representation that acts as an indicator for how fast the infection is spreading.
Researchers at the Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) revealed that the R-value for coronavirus has gone up for the country.
Their analysis revealed that it has gone from 0.78 on June 30 to 0.88 in the first week of July. This is despite the nationwide tally of new cases remaining low, PTI reported.
This analysis has further raised concerns with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic as several states and Union Territories are gradually in the process of unlocking courtesy a decline in cases.
As per the analysis, the overall R-value in India was estimated to be 1.37 between March 9 and April 21 when the Covid second wave was at its peak. It, however, declined to 1.18 between April 24 and May 1 and then to 1.10 between April 29 and May 7.
The R-value, which was later estimated to be around 0.98 between May 9 and 11, came down to 0.82 from May 14 to May 30.
The R-value was 0.78 from May 15 to June 26 and 0.88 from June 20 to July 7.
“India’s R has increased a bit to 0.88 from June-end after being at the lowest ever value of 0.78 (since the pandemic began in March last year) from mid-May till late last month,” PTI quoted Sitabhra Sinha, who led the team of researchers, as saying.
Sinha further said the “smaller the value of R is, the faster the disease is on decline”.
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“Conversely, if R is greater than 1, the number of infected people is increasing in each round—technically, this is what we call the epidemic phase. The bigger the number is than 1, the faster the rate of spreading of the disease in the population,” Sinha added.
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