Coronavirus infection rate falls to 0.9 in Harju County

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The district of Lasnamäe seen from Tallinn's Old Town. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The coronavirus infection rate - known as R - has fallen to below 1 in Harju County and is decreasing across the country. There are clear downward trends in Harju, Lääne-Viru and Saare counties.

"In other counties, the curve is also less than one, but it does not differ much from it. The trend is good, but there is no certainty about it yet," said Krista Fischer, professor of mathematical statistics at the University of Tartu and member of the government's scientific advisor council. 

The picture will become clearer over the weekend when the results of Friday's tests are included in the analysis, she said. "In general, the number of people infected has fallen in recent days in all counties," the professor added.

While Fischer welcomed the downward trend, she warned against restrictions being eased prematurely.

"Experience from other countries shows that in some places it [the infection rate[ has fallen below its peak, but then the infection rate has risen again. If we can maintain this downward trend for several weeks in a row, we hope to reach 500 new cases a day," she said.

During the last day, 1,151 new cases of coronavirus have been reported.

The infection rate - R - in Harju, Ida-Viru, Tartu, Pärnu, Lääne-Viru and Saare counties. The red line is 1. Source: Krista Fischer

What is R?

The reproduction number (R) is the average number of secondary infections produced by a single infected person.

An R value of 1 means that on average every person who is infected will infect 1 other person, meaning the total number of infections is stable.

If R is 2, on average, each infected person infects 2 more people. If R is 0.5 then on average for each 2 infected people, there will be only 1 new infection.

If R is greater than 1 the epidemic is growing, if R is less than 1 the epidemic is shrinking. The higher R is above 1, the more people 1 infected person infects and so the faster the epidemic grows.

R can change over time. For example, it falls when there is a reduction in the number of contacts between people, which reduces transmission. R increases when the numbers of contacts between people rise, leading to a rise in viral transmission.

Source: UK government website

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Editor: Helen Wright

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