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R0 Value

coronavirus covid 19 virus illness

There is much discussion about the R0 value used by epidemiologists to categorise the rate of spread of diseases. Currently, it is thought that the R0 for Covid-19 for the North West has increased to something very close to 1 (some reports quote values of 1.01 ).

This roughly equates to the average number of people who may be infected by a single person. At this level, the infection may spread exponentially, below this level, the infection would eventually die out.

The Government have been using the R0 value as one indicator of the rate of transmission of the coronavirus and will continue to use this as a guide to when lockdown restrictions may be eased.

The difficulty, of course, is that the rate of transmission is likely to differ markedly from area to area and this would only be revealed by statistical models based on extensive testing. Therefore to say that the R0 for the NW of England is 1.01 gives only a very broad indication of what any one of us might encounter while we are out and about. The only certainty that we could really take from an R0 value greater than zero is that the virus is still spreading in the community and we should take appropriate precautions.

Cheshire Live has an informative video here which explains the calculation of the R0 value and what it means. There are also some latest statistics about the virus for our area.

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