Saturday August 8, 2020

The R factor: the digit that is shaping our lives

Since the pandemic began, the R0 number has been pored over on a daily basis by medics and the media. Whenever it rises to 1 or more, alarm ensues. But just how effective is it at telling us the rate of coronavirus infection?

Susan Mitchell

Deputy Editor and Health Editor

@susmitchellsbp
12th July, 2020
3
Lines of healthcare professionals enter a public housing complex in Melbourne, Australia: further lockdown measures for residents in Melbourne came into effect last week. They will be in place for six weeks. Picture: Getty

During the Covid-19 pandemic, whatever digit happens to follow the letter “R” has become the magic number, jumping from the pages of academic journals into regular discourse of politicians, media and the general public. It has been framed as a number that will shape everyone’s lives. In many countries, including Ireland, it is reported on a regular basis – sometimes every week.

Last week, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET)...

Subscribe from just €1 for the first month!

Exclusive offers:

All Digital Access + eReader

Trial

€1

Unlimited Access for 1 Month

Then €19.99 a month after the offer period.

Get basic
*New subscribers only
You can cancel any time.

Annual

€200

€149 For the 1st Year

Unlimited Access for 1 Year

You can cancel any time.

Quarterly

€55

€42

90 Day Pass

You can cancel any time.

2 Yearly

€315

€248

Unlimited Access for 2 Years

This product does not auto-renew

Team Pass

Get a Business Account for you and your team

Related Stories

Ian Guider breaks down the state of the economy five months post-lockdown and Charlene Lydon of the Light House Cinema talks reopening during a pandemic

Nadine O’Regan | 2 hours ago

As Spain insists large areas of the country are safe for tourists, does stopping or restricting travel have a material impact on the spread of Covid-19?

Aaron Rogan | 6 days ago

The move, which will also see the doctors’ contracts reformed, comes under new plans drawn up by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly

Daniel Murray | 6 days ago