The Pune Municipal Corporation on Monday said that the reproductive number R, which is a measure of how quickly the disease was spreading, had fallen below 1 for the first time, and therefore there was hope that the epidemic could be brought under control soon.
R represents the number of people, on an average, who get the infection from an already infected person. When R is one, it means every infected person is passing on the infection to another person on an average. When R falls below one, it usually signifies the beginning of the decline of the epidemic. But different computational models can throw up different values of R, depending on the kind of assumptions that are made. A definitive value of R is generally available only after the epidemic is over. During the pandemic, the estimated values are used for deciding on policy interventions.
“The R, rate of transmission that gauges intensity of the spread of the disease, is considered safe if it is under 1. It is an indication that the pace of the spread would reduce. Fortunately, the R for PMC is 0.7 now as compared to June 30 when it was around 1,” said Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao.
He said this indicated that the spread of the disease would be in control in the near future. “…We are hopeful that the situation in the PMC will improve in the next two to three weeks,” Rao said.
The PMC has reported a drop in the number of active cases in the last 10 days, as more patients recover and are discharged, compared to new patients identified. It has also eased the load of patients under treatment in hospitals.
“The situation is much better now as 600 oxygenated beds in the PMC and 1,200 in the district are vacant. The only concern is over patients needing the ICU. Thus, the administration is working hard to start an ICU of 200 beds each at two jumbo facilities by Wednesday,” Rao said. Talking about the jumbo facilities, he also said there were many complications, but the facility will be started by August 19.
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