Understanding COVID-19 Terms 2

Robin Low • 24 Abril 2020
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What is R0 (R-naught)?

R0, pronounced “R naught,” is a mathematical term that indicates how contagious an infectious virus is. It is also called the reproduction number.

R0 tells you the average number of people who will get the virus from one person with that virus.

So what does R0 tell us?

3 cases.

  1. When R0 is less than 1 - each infection causes less than 1 infection. The virus eventually dies off.
  2. When R0 is equal to 1 - the infection is stable. The existing infection will infect one person. The virus will not die off but will not cause a pandemic.
  3. When R0 is more than 1 - each infection causes more than 1 infection. The virus will transmit between people and there is a risk of an outbreak.

The R0 value applies when the entire population is completely vulnerable to the virus.

 

R0, pronounced “R naught,” is a mathematical term that indicates how contagious an infectious virus is. It is also called the reproduction number.

R0 tells you the average number of people who will get the virus from one person with that virus.

So what does R0 tell us?

3 cases.

  1. When R0 is less than 1 - each infection causes less than 1 infection. The virus eventually dies off.
  2. When R0 is equal to 1 - the infection is stable. The existing infection will infect one person. The virus will not die off but will not cause a pandemic.
  3. When R0 is more than 1 - each infection causes more than 1 infection. The virus will transmit between people and there is a risk of an outbreak.

The R0 value applies when the entire population is completely vulnerable to the virus.

 

COVID-19 R0

From the initial data, COVID-19 was estimated to have an R0 of about 2, but after consolidating data from many other sources, COVID-19 now has a median R0 of 5.7.

This means that a person getting the virus can potentially infect about 6 other people.

 

Other useful information about COVID-19

The Median 5.5 day incubation period (from exposure to symptom onset) is longer than that of a disease like the flu, which means a longer window when unsuspecting individuals can infect others

There is also 18 and 30% of infected individuals remain asymptomatic for the duration of the disease. This means that these people can transmit the disease and yet show no symptoms at all.

Individuals who test positive, demonstrate viral shedding for 6–12 days (or more) post-resolution of symptoms, creating a large window during which an individual is contagious.

 

 

Modes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus

Respiratory infections can be transmitted through droplets of different sizes: when the droplet particles are >5–10 μm in diameter they are referred to as respiratory droplets, and when then are <5μm in diameter, they are referred to as droplet nuclei. According to current evidence, COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes.

Droplet transmission occurs when a person is in close contact (within 1 m) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing or sneezing) and is therefore at risk of having his/her mucosae (mouth and nose) or conjunctiva (eyes) exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets. Transmission may also occur through fomites in the immediate environment around the infected person. Therefore, transmission of the COVID-19 virus can occur by direct contact with infected people and indirect contact with surfaces in the immediate environment or with objects used on the infected person (e.g., stethoscope or thermometer).

 

 

Tips for prevention

Take these steps to help prevent the transmission of contagious diseases:

  • Avoid going outside. If you must, put on a mask, and ensure you wear it properly.
  • When outside, practice safety distancing. Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before you prepare or eat food.

I will be sharing more tips on how COVID-19 will be impacting businesses and countries and how the new norm will reshape the future.

— Robin Low

 

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