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India’s R Number Has Increased Above 1 After Three Months: Researcher

India’s R Number Has Increased Above 1 After Three Months: Researcher

A healthcare worker administers a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to a school student at a school in Bikaner, April 19, 2022. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: India’s basic reproductive ratio (R) for the spread of the novel coronavirus – which indicates how quickly the infection is spreading – has increased to more than 1 for the first time since January 2022, a researcher from Chennai’s Institute of Mathematical Sciences has estimated.

The country’s R value, steadily increasing over the last few weeks, was 1.07 for the week between April 12 and 18, according to Sitabhra Sinha. In the preceding the week of April 5-11, it was 0.93.

The last time the R was above 1 was in the week of January 16-22, when the value was 1.28, Sinha said.

“This increase in R-value is not just because of Delhi but also Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,” the mathematician, who has been tracking R for India since the beginning of the pandemic, told PTI.

An R value above 1 indicates that the virus is spreading from an infected individual to more than one other person. That is, the outbreak is expanding. An R number lower than 1 indicates that the spread is decelerating because there aren’t enough people being infected to sustain the outbreak.

The R value this year was highest during January 1-10, reaching 2.98 as the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus spurred India’s third wave.

Almost all major cities – Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai – have R values greater than 1. In fact, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have an R value above 2. The data for Kolkata was not available, Sinha said.

The estimated R values in the week ending April 18 were 2.12 for Delhi, 2.12 for Uttar Pradesh, 1.04 for Karnataka, 1.70 for Haryana, 1.13 for Mumbai, 1.18 for Chennai and 1.04 for Bengaluru.

Among the major states, Kerala and Maharashtra have R values of less than 1 – 0.72 and 0.88 respectively.

“Karnataka also has R over 1 currently, possibly because of the rising cases in Bengaluru,” Sinha explained.

With 2,067 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 4,30,47,594 (4.3 crore) while active cases increased to 12,340, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.

An increase of 480 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.49% and the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 0.38%, according to the health ministry.

On Tuesday, Delhi recorded a nearly 26% jump in new COVID-19 cases but the test positivity rate dropped to 4.42%, according to data shared by the city health department on Tuesday.

While 632 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi, the test positivity rate stood at 4.42%. The city had on Monday recorded 501 cases and zero deaths, while the positivity rate stood at 7.72%.

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