Eight states with the highest Covid-19 R-value

Eight states with the highest Covid-19 R-value

Experts say R-value spike does not require states or districts to be classified as ‘red zones’

MP, despite having the highest R-value among states, has also been seeing less than 30 cases in a day. Credit: AFP Photo

The rising Covid-19 R-value (reproductive number) in eight states has become a matter of concern, but experts believe that such states should not be declared "red zone" merely on the basis of the R-naught.

The CDC had recently declared the Delta Covid variant to be more contagious than chicken pox and that could be the reason why India’s R-naught has risen from 0.93 a month ago to 1.01 now.

What does R-naught mean?

The R-naught is the average number of people contracting Covid from an infected individual.

The R-value is a tool used by epidemiologists to keep tabs on whether Covid cases are ‘growing faster or shrinking quicky’.

Read more: Delhi govt likely to undertake advanced sero survey to asses Covid prevalence

India’s Covid reproduction factor is at 1.01, meaning more than 1 individual is being infected by a Covid infected person, a senior virologist, Dr T Jacob John, was quoted telling TOI.

During the peak of the second wave, India’s R-value in March was approximately 1.4, but it dropped to about 0.7 in May as a decline in cases was witnessed.

However, experts say just R-value spike does not require states or districts to be classified as ‘red zones’.

"A combination of epidemiological factors including infection growth rate, increasing number of deaths and hospital occupancy rate explain the risk," Dr Manoj Murhekar, National Institute of Epidemiology director, told TOI.

8 states which have recorded an R-value above or same as the national average (1.01) are:

Madhya Pradesh (1.31)

Himachal Pradesh (1.30)

Nagaland (1.09)

Kerala (1.06)

Delhi (1.01)

Maharashtra (1.01)

Karnataka (above 1)

Andhra Pradesh (above 1)

However, the risk factor is not proportional to the R value in each of the mentioned states, according to the expert.

For example, Madhya Pradesh, despite having the highest R-value among the 8 states, has also been seeing less than 30 cases in a day.

“The R value is high because of the erratic daily numbers, but that does not indicate risk because the percentage of people who test positive over the total number of people tested (test positivity rate) is still low,” Dr. Murhekar told the publication.