Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Current estimate of ‘R Number’ revealed

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Friday, July 17th, 2020

The Department of Health continues to publish the Covid-19 reproduction number on a weekly basis.

Coronavirus Newry

The current estimate of R is 0.5 – 1.0.



R represents the number of individuals who, on average, will be infected by a single person with the infection. 

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R does not have a fixed value but varies with time, and is likely to be different every day.



When community transmission of the virus is very low, R will no longer be the most important number for the purpose of policy decisions.

In particular, once the number of new cases is sufficiently low in the context of a robust testing programme and test/trace/protect strategy, the number of positive tests per day is likely to be a more important parameter.



At present, R will show a high degree of volatility and be heavily influenced by small local clusters.

It is therefore not the key indicator for policy decisions.


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