New Delhi: India’s effective reproduction number (R) for Covid — which indicates how quickly the infection is spreading — has reduced further this week to 1.08 from 1.16 last week, as several key states saw downward trend.
R needs to be driven below 1 for a pandemic to come to an end.
In fact, the R for India was below 1 for several weeks before the value rose again.
According to Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher at the Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, the downward trend is primarily driven by Maharashtra — the state with the highest number of active cases in the country. After a lockdown was imposed in the state, Maharashtra is now seeing its active cases fall.
In Maharashtra, R has dropped to 0.94 from 0.97 last week.
R value for states with high number of active cases
Chhattisgarh, which is among the top 15 with the highest number of active cases, reported a rise in its R to 1.12 this week from 0.94 last week.
Meanwhile, Gujarat has the highest R among states with the most number of active cases in India. Currently, Gujarat’s R is at 1.48 — same as last week. But this is lower than the R reported in the last week of April.
At 1.35, Andhra Pradesh has the second-highest R among states with the highest active cases. The R in the state has increased from last week’s 1.33.
Odisha too has a relatively higher R value of 1.20.
The states of Kerala, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan have a similar R value of 1.19. All three saw a decrease in the R values compared to last week.
Punjab and Haryana have similar R of 1.14 — reduced from 1.22 and 1.37, respectively.
Karnataka also saw a drop in the R from 1.43 to 1.25 this week.
States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand are reporting very low values of R, compared to the numbers seen at the end of April.
For example, the R value for UP which was at 1.84 around April 26, has now reduced to 0.82. Bihar, which had R at 1.97 around April 19, now has R very close to 1. Similarly, Jharkhand, which had R close to 1.72 around April 26, now has R at 1.03.
However, Sinha says that these numbers need to be read with caution.
“I think it’s too early to declare the peak has been reached,” he told ThePrint.
“Chhattisgarh, whose number of active cases had seemed to have peaked and was going downhill (so that R had become less than 1) has again had its R become greater than 1,” he said.
“So we should treat with utmost caution that the R has become less than 1 for Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Telangana. This new trend is just a few days old and can be very easily reversed,” he added.
“The other states continue to have R more than 1 — even though its numerical value has decreased — so the rate at which active cases are growing has slowed somewhat, but it’s still increasing nonetheless,” he said.
Among the major cities, Mumbai is the only one where R is below 1.
Pune’s R is 1.07 — an increase from last week when R was near 1.
Kolkata’s R remains at 1.19, the same as last week. Bengaluru’s R is also 1.19, down from 1.42 last week. Chennai’s R is hovering just over 1, although the data from the city is not consistent enough for an accurate estimate this week.
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