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Day 19 – Q 3. While going through the news items related to COVID-19, you must have come across a term called the ‘R’ value. What does this term signify? Explain. What would it mean if the ‘R’ value in a particular state is higher than its neighbour? Explain.  

  • IASbaba
  • July 1, 2020
  • 0
GS 3, Sci & Technology, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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3. While going through the news items related to COVID-19, you must have come across a term called the ‘R’ value. What does this term signify? Explain. What would it mean if the ‘R’ value in a particular state is higher than its neighbour? Explain.  
COVID-19 से संबंधित समाचार पढ़ते समय, आपक पाला ‘R’ परिमाण से अवश्य पड़ा होगा। यह शब्द क्या दर्शाता है? समझाएं। यदि किसी विशेष राज्य में ’R’ का परिमाण उसके पड़ोसी से अधिक है, तो इसका क्या अर्थ होगा? समझाएं।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to define the term ‘R’ value and highlight its significance.  Students also needs to write about impact of correlation of ‘R’ value between neighbouring states.

Introduction:

The R number refers to the ‘effective reproduction number’, it’s a way of measuring an infectious disease’s capacity to spread. An R value of 1 is a crucial threshold. The COVID-19 has a reproduction number of about three. 

Body:

Significance of ‘R’ value:

  • The R number signifies the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus to.
  • e.g. Measles has one of the highest numbers in town with a reproduction number of 15 in populations without immunity. 
  • R value helps to understand how the disease will spread and how it will impact the health of people. R of 1 and above tends towards exponential growth. An R of below 1 tends towards the end of the outbreak. 
  • R value also helps the government, administrative machinery and health care professionals to understand what kind of steps are needed to be taken to control the outbreak and what should be the standard operating procedure.

Implications of higher ‘R’ value in a particular state than its neighbour:

  • A state having a greater R value than neighbouring one simply means that the rate of spread of disease is more in the state than neighbouring one.
  • e.g. Consider, If Maharashtra has R vale of 9 and Telangana has R value of 4, it means that a single person in Maharashtra can infect 9 other persons and so on the infection rate will multiply as these 9 infected people will interact with other persons. Whereas, in Telangana it will spread to 4 persons from one single person. So, Maharashtra will experience more wide scale disease outbreak than in Telangana.
  • It also indicates how swiftly the state’s administrative and health machinery responded to check the spread of diseases and what needs to be done.
  • e.g. As happened in the case of New Zealand where the State machinery managed to bring down the R value below 1.

Conclusion:

As of today total 36 countries in the world declared themselves COVID-19 free based on the calculations of R value. So, the calculations with respect to R value and putting forward steps according to them seems to be imperative to flatten the curve of disease outbreak. In this way R value plays a crucial role to understand and check the outbreak of disease.

 

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