HYDERABAD: The rate of increase in new Covid-19 positive cases is finally falling in the country. Thankfully, the ‘R factor’ (reproduction rate which measures how infectious the virus is) has fallen from 1.19 to 1.05 in the country, though it is relatively higher at 1.26 in the state.
A month ago — during the middle of July — the R factor was at its peak in Telangana at 1.64. But, experts suggest that Telangana has to first meet the target of ensuring that the R factor falls below 1.0. “Many countries have ensured that R factor fell below 1.0 despite being at a much higher level than India a few months ago,” an expert pointed out.
A decline in the percentage increase, instead of a decline in absolute numbers, is the first indication of a possible flattening of the curve of the pandemic, say health experts and doctors. “In Telangana, each Covid-19 infected person is infecting 1.26 persons, on an average,” an expert said.
Present statistics reveal that Telangana stands among those states where infection is at the middle stage of the pandemic curve. “The R factor of 1.0 is considered very good. If it is above 1.0, it calls for strict social distancing and more testings to be done,” Dr T Brojen Singh of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, observed. Health minister Eatala Rajender said the R factor in Telangana is at a safe level. “From the beginning, we have been doing the contact tracing. Whether it was foreign travellers or Delhi Markaz attendees, we did not leave behind any contacts of Covid-19 positive patients. We have also increased the testing to a great extent. Once the prevailing weather improves, we will take up more tests and try to bring down R factor to around 1 or just around it,” he said.
R factor in Telangana stood at 1.32 in June first week when India’s R factor was 1.22. What does the present R factor of 1.26 say? “ R factor of 1.26 would mean 100 people infect 126 who, in turn, would infect 158, who would infect 199. In three rounds of infection, the number of people with the virus would have quadrupled to 250. So, maintaining the R factor at around 1 or below is very safe,” said Dr M Kiran. Dr Kiran, who has a bio-medical research certification from ICMR, said when the number of recoveries and deaths and infections in a particular period of time are juxtaposed to a population and the R factor is around 1, then it is considered to be a safe bet.