COVID-19: Ray of hope! Virus spread slowing, transmission rate steady despite few lockdown relaxations, a study indicates

By: |
May 13, 2020 3:54 PM

When the lockdown commenced, the initial rate of transmission, denoted by R-naught, remained at 1.83 between March 27 and April 6.

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COVID-19 transmission rate: The transmission rate of COVID-19, which is represented by the basic reproduction number, has remained steady at 1.29 in India between April 13 and May 10, a report in IE has said, quoting a study by the Institute of Mathematical Studies in Chennai. The report stated that this transmission rate remained steady even though there were some relaxations in lockdown restrictions after May 4. The report further stated that outbreaks in some states mostly drove the transmission rate, as most states witnessed contained growth in the number of cases.

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When the lockdown commenced, the initial rate of transmission, denoted by R-naught, remained at 1.83 between March 27 and April 6, the report further stated, indicating a decline in the transmission rate. The basic reproduction number, represented by R0 initially and then subsequently by R-number, assesses how severe an outbreak is while studying infectious diseases. The number reflects the average number of people who can contract the disease from one infected person, the report stated. This means that currently in India, an average of 1.29 people are contracting the disease from one infected person.

The report stated that if things proceeded at this rate itself, India would likely witness 70,000 to 80,000 active cases of COVID-19 by the end of the week. The number of active cases in India on Wednesday stood at 47,480.

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi and West Bengal are the states which showed exponential increase in the number of cases, the report said, of which Tamil Nadu has the transmission rate of 2.01, the highest among the 10 states with most cases. Punjab’s transmission rate has also increased and its R-number now stands at 1.32, the report said.

Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS and a part of the team monitoring the pandemic in India, had also earlier stated that while the number of cases in India are increasing, the rise in the curve is not very sharp, assuring that they could handle the situation as of now.

Researcher Sitabhra Sinha said that the institute was analysing the trend of cases a week after restrictions were eased on April 20 and then May 4, and he said that while important, a lockdown in itself would not be able to prevent the pandemic if the movement of people is allowed without any other containment measures in place.

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