A health worker collects sample of a person for Covid-19 test via Rapid Antigen Testing, at Manipuri Basti in Guwahati | PTI
A health worker collects sample of a person for Covid-19 test via Rapid Antigen Testing, at Manipuri Basti in Guwahati (representational image) | PTI
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New Delhi: India’s effective reproduction number ‘R’ for Covid-19 — a key parameter to measure the rate of spread of infection — has remained unchanged from last week’s 1.09.

At this rate, the country is likely to face a burden of over 12 lakh active cases by the end of September. The number of active cases is expected to go up to 10 lakh by 15 September if the rate of transmission remains the same.

As of Tuesday, India recorded 8,83,697 active coronavirus cases. A total of 42.8 lakh people have been infected in the country so far, and 72,775 have died.

Only two weeks ago, the overall R value of India dipped to 1.04, which was the lowest the country had recorded since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai who has been tracking India’s R value, told ThePrint, “Most worrying is the rapid increase in active cases in Chhattisgarh which has had an extremely high R consistently for more than a month now.”

Chhattisgarh had 24,708 active cases as of Tuesday and an R value of 1.35. The Covid transmission rate over the last one month has been about 1.35, making it the state with the highest effective reproduction number among the top 12 states with highest number of active cases.

R value as well as R0 (basic reproduction number) are an estimate of the number of people a patient can infect.

While R0 is calculated at the beginning of an epidemic, when the entire population is assumed to be susceptible to a disease, R changes with time and takes into account the fact that some individuals are protected from the illness — either because they have developed immunity or due to social distancing measures.

For India, the R0 was calculated to be about 1.83 in April. An epidemic is considered to be under control when the R value remains below 1 consistently.


Also read: Vaccinating Indians against Covid? We should be talking days, not years


R value up in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka  

Delhi has seen a consistent rise in its daily case numbers and therefore its R value has also increased in the past few weeks. The national capital has gotten marginally worse this week, Sinha said.

The city’s R value increased to 1.22 this week, from last week’s 1.18.

While the national capital’s R value had dipped below 1 for a couple of weeks till 4 August, it increased to 1.09 around 18 August, up from 0.66 in the beginning of August.

Maharashtra’s R value also increased, to 1.18 from 1.12 last week. The state had witnessed a consistent decrease in its R value in the past several months but is now increasing.

Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have also seen a rise in their respective R values. While the R value for Karnataka was about 1.06 last week, it has increased to 1.13 this week. For Uttar Pradesh, the value went up to 1.10 from last week’s 1.07.

States that dipped

Andhra Pradesh’s R value, which had been below 1 (0.90) around 18 August but increased to 1.09 last week, saw the number dip to 0.94 this week.

Telangana, which had the highest R value among the worst-affected states last week (1.26), saw a significant dip this week, reducing to 1.06.

Assam, which reported a sharp increase of 1.22 last week from 0.80 the week before, now has a R value just below 1, Sinha said.

Tamil Nadu has kept its R value below 1 for the past three weeks. The value is about 0.98, marginally decreasing from last week’s 0.99.

Meanwhile, West Bengal and Odisha have the same R value as reported last week — 0.93 and 1.13 respectively.


Also read: Covid patients could have prolonged gut infection, Hong Kong study finds


 

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