Cause for concern? India’s R-value crosses 1 first time since January

R value, or reproduction number, over 1 indicates the number of active cases has increased and the infection is spreading

Findings suggest that the Omicron variants has continued to evolve | File Photo

India’s effective reproduction number (R) for Covid, an indicator of how quickly the infection is spreading, has increased to over 1 for the first time since January, says a researcher who has been tracking the pattern.

The country’s R-value, steadily increasing over the last few weeks, is 1.07 for the week between April 12-18, according to Sitabhra Sinha, from Chennai’s Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

In the preceding April 5-11 week, it was 0.93. The last time the R was above 1 was in the week between January 16-22, when the value was 1.28, Sinha said.

“This increase in R-value is not just because of Delhi but also because of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,” the mathematician, who has been tracking R for India since the beginning of the pandemic, told PTI.

An R-value over 1 indicates that the number of active cases has increased. It should be contained below 1 to control the pandemic. An R number lower than 1 indicates that the disease will stop spreading as there aren’t enough people being infected to sustain the outbreak.

All metros show spike

Almost all major cities —Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai — are showing R-value above 1. Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have an R-value above 2. Data for Kolkata was not available, Sinha said.

Also read: India records spike in daily COVID cases; 2,067 infections in 24 hrs

The estimated R-value in the week ending April 18 is 2.12 for Delhi, 2.12 for Uttar Pradesh, 1.04 for Karnataka, 1.70 for Haryana, 1.13 for Mumbai, 1.18 for Chennai and 1.04 for Bengaluru.

Among the major states, Kerala and Maharashtra have an R-value less than 1, with values of 0.72 and 0.88, respectively. “Karnataka also has it over 1 currently, possibly because of the rising cases in Bengaluru,” Sinha explained.

Daily cases up 66 per cent

India on Wednesday recorded a 66 per cent rise in daily COVID-19 cases with 2,067 new infections being reported. This took the country’s total tally to 4,30,47,594 while the active cases increased to 12,340. According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday, the death toll climbed to 5,22,006 with 40 fresh fatalities.

Also read: Absolutely wrong’: Kerala and Centre spar over COVID data

The active cases comprise 0.03 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate remained at 98.76 per cent, the ministry said. An increase of 480 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.49 per cent and the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 0.38 per cent, according to the health ministry.

Jump in Delhi cases

On Tuesday, Delhi recorded a nearly 26 per cent jump in fresh Covid cases but positivity rate dropped to 4.42 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department. Fresh 632 Covid cases were reported in Delhi. The city had on Monday recorded 501 cases while the positivity rate stood at 7.72 per cent.

The Centre had on Tuesday advised Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Mizoram, states which have reported a slight increase in infections, to monitor the spread of cases and take steps to curb them. The Centre also instructed Kerala to keep “an effective watch and pre-emptive action to contain any imminent surge”.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to co-morbidities. “Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

(With input from agencies)

Also read: 33 children in Noida catch COVID; mask mandates back in UP, Haryana

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