Estonia's R rate falls to 0.75

Coronavirus test kit.
Coronavirus test kit. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia's coronavirus infection rate - R - has fallen to 0.75, the Health Board said in its weekly summary. Last week the share of positive tests was 2.2 percent.

In total, 28,162 tests were analyzed in Estonia last week. The highest share of positive tests was in Valga County (7 percent), Ida-Viru County (5.4 percent) and Võru County (5.2 percent). In all other counties, the positive share was below 5 percent.

While the average R rate across the country is 0.75, it is above 1 in Rapla (1.4) and Saare (1.2) counties meaning the infection rate is rising. The Health Board stressed that both these counties have small populations so the data is sensitive to small changes.

In general, the infection rate is on a downward trend and the number of new cases has fallen in recent weeks. If this trend continues, there will be approximately 50 cases per day by mid-June and 30 per day by the end of the month. By the end of July, there could be fewer than 10 per day.

Currently, the coronavirus is mainly spreading among families and relatives, which accounts for 39 percent of cases and 11.2 percent of cases are contracted at work.

Last week, 28 cases were brought in from abroad, which is 4.5 percent of the total number of cases. There was an increase in cases of the Delta variant - formerly known as the Indian variant - and 36 cases were identified with this strain.

47 people were hospitalized during the week, which is 42.7 percent less than a week earlier.

What is the R rate?

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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