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India’s R value rises to 1.17, driven by rise in infections in Kerala & Maharashtra

The R value for Kerala this week is 1.33, while it is 1.06 for Maharashtra. Mizoram now has the highest R — 1.36 — among the states that have highest number of active cases in India.

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New Delhi: India’s R value — an indicator of how fast the infection is spreading — has once again risen to above 1 over the last week, with its current value at 1.17. Last week, India’s R had fallen to 0.83, but the rapid rise in cases in Maharashtra and Kerala has driven up the country’s overall R value.

The last time India’s R value was this high was around 19 March, when it was 1.19. This was followed by the devastating second wave.

INDIA R value
Graphic: Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint

R or effective reproduction number is an estimate of the average number of people who are likely to get the infection from one patient. R needs to be below 1 for the epidemic to come to an end.

“The situation doesn’t look good at all,” Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, told ThePrint.

“India’s R has shot up close to 1.2. Not only is it greater than 1, it is much higher than the last time there was a scare of a third wave. It was 1.03 at that time, only marginally over 1,” he said.

Around 2 August, the overall R value had risen to 1.03, but the value fell back to below 1 the subsequent week.

R value for states

states R value
Graphic: Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint

In Kerala, where R was reportedly 0.87 last week, the value shot up to 1.33 this week. Similarly, for Maharashtra, which also had R at 0.87 last week, the value rose to 1.06.

While Maharashtra and Kerala have the highest number of active cases in India and are likely to have been the biggest contributor to the rise in R this week, Sinha pointed out that two other states also saw a spike this week.

Mizoram now has the highest R — 1.36 — among the states that currently have the highest number of active cases in India. Last week, the R for Mizoram was 0.67.

Similarly, Jammu and Kashmir’s R rose from 0.85 last week to 1.25 this week.

Andhra Pradesh’s R is 1.09 this week, compared to 0.87 last week.

All other states have R below 1 this week.

However, Manipur is showing a rising R trend. The R in the state rose to 0.93 this week from 0.8 last week.

In Himachal Pradesh, R rose to 0.78 this week from 0.74 last week, while Odisha saw R increase to 0.88 this week from 0.82 last week.

Assam’s R, meanwhile, reduced to 0.87 this week from 0.95 last week.

Also read: Half of hospitalised Covid patients have persisting symptoms after a year, Lancet study says


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