Basic reproduction number
|COVID-19 (Delta variant)||5–9.5|
|COVID-19 (ancestral strain)||2-3|
|Flu (2009 pandemic strain)||1.6 (1.3–2.0)|
|Seasonal flu||1.3 (1.2–1.4)|
A very important number for describing whether a disease can become an epidemic or not is R0, pronounced "R naught" or "R zero". It refers to how many people a person who has this disease is expected to infect on average if there are no people immune to the disease. It is an abbreviation for basic reproduction number.
If R0 > 1, a disease can become an epidemic. If R0 < 1, it cannot. Most commonly known diseases have R0 > 1. However, vaccines can be used to make enough people immune in a population to stop epidemics from happening. We can also use other measures to make the effective reproduction rate (Re, usually written Rt with t for time) lower than the basic reproduction rate (R0).
An example of a vaccine that works really well is the smallpox vaccine, which stopped smallpox virus from spreading so well that it no longer exists except in laboratories. Examples of making the effective reproduction rate lower than the basic reproduction rate are using condoms to stop sexually transmitted diseases from spreading or not getting close to others (physical distancing, often called social distancing) to stop respiratory diseases from spreading.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
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[...] while infections that require sexual contact like HIV have a lower R0 (2-5).
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The reproduction number across influenza seasons and countries lied in the range 0.9–2.0 with an overall mean of 1.3, and 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2–1.4.