The Rt value or the effective reproduction value of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has gone up in a few states, including Maharashtra. An Rt value of 1 means one patient can spread the disease to one other person.
In a tweet, epidemiologist Dr Giridhar Babu on Tuesday said states with an increase in Rt values on December 19 as compared to December 13 are Bihar, MP, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Odisha, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Manipur and Nagaland. India’s effective Rt is 0.89 as on December 19, he added.
In the week ending November 2, the Rt value in Maharashtra was 0.7 and kept steadily increasing — 0.82 (November 14), 0.96 (November 22) — before falling — 0.92 (November 29) and 0.85 (December 6). In the last two weeks, the Rt value in the state has again started rising: 1.08 (December 19).
The rising weekly caseload and Rt value are, as per doctors, an indicator of how the Covid graph will turn out in the next month. Rahul Pandit, a member of the state government’s task force on Covid-19, said there is no cause for panic yet.
“Any rise in R value is a cause for concern and means the public health machinery should strengthen its surveillance and contact tracing,” he further stated.
Shashank Joshi, also a task force member, said: “The third wave seemed remote a few months ago, but the emergence of the Omicron variant that spreads five times more rapidly than Delta has raised the possibility of cluster outbreak and the third wave.”
Internal medicine specialist Swapneil Parikh said a third wave is inevitable. “Based on developments in other countries, cases in India too will increase. What remains to be seen is what… sort of load the third wave would put on hospital infrastructure,” he said. However, most doctors said immunity due to vaccine, past infection will blunt the severity of the possible Omicron wave.