Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

THE R VALUE FOR COVID19 REMAINS MYSTERIOUS


FIRSTLY WHAT IS THE R VALUE?R is the number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus or infection to, on average.AND IS a respected epidemiological statistic that helps to understand the infectivity of an illness and has been used for many decades to study illnesses such as measles where data is available on large populations

for covid19 however we do not have these data as it would require specific mass testing of a defined population repeated on a regular basis eventually this may be feasible if the plan to mass test a city like liverpool takes place

currently this R NUMBER is being used it seems by the government to determine severity of infection and to determinesubsequent actions such as lockdowns which are serious sequelae recognised to damage economies, lives, livelihoods and mental health yet we still do not know precisely how the R number is calculated but the various scientific groups in SAGE must use other endpoints as proxy numbers but we have yet to be told what they use this should not be a secret especially as the usual suspects such as case rates, hospital admissions and deaths can have many factors that influence them that i have covered in previous blogs (examples include more testing leading to more cases, more hospital beds allow more admissions,inacurrate counting of death rates

https://arcticterntalk.org/2020/05/14/some-factors-used-by-uk-government-to-assess-lockdown-in-covid-19-benefits-seem-to-be-imprecise-science-more-information-needed/

https://arcticterntalk.org/2020/05/14/clinical-determinants-for-decision-making-with-covid-19-are-complex-and-death-rate-change-may-not-be-robust-enough/

few of us are expert epidemiologists including matt hancock etc, but we are all affected by lockdowns, tier levels, travel corridors or whatever other soundbites the government emerges with and deserve to know the precise origins of the R NUMBER , which to me remains so mysterious as to be fictitious until we know how it is calculated especially also as it is reported as a range very often and a change in the number may lead to either a lockdown or escape from one

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