Coronavirus: Do You Know Your Data? (Episode 4: The R Number)

Why Keeping R0 Low Is So Critical

This week’s video isn’t about a phrase, or even a word, but a single letter: R. It’s been dominating our conversations as many countries are looking to slowly transition out of lockdown and re-open. So, we’re taking a look at why the ‘R number’ is so important in our understanding of coronavirus data.

Welcome back to Know Your Data – a series that aims to help everyone gain a greater understanding of the charts, tables, and language that we're all seeing every day in relation to COVID-19 data.

In this week’s episode, Data Literacy Project Advisory Board member, Alan Schwarz, and I responded to demand from viewers – to explain not a phrase, not even a word but a single letter: R.

It’s the key to so much as R – or technically R0 – stands for Reproduction Number. It means the average number of people each person infected with the virus passes it on to and can be used as a rough estimate of how a disease spreads. It’s therefore an important factor when considering how countries around the world can start re-opening. We’ll explain this all in our latest episode and show you examples of how crucial even small fluctuations in the R number can be and why it’s so important to keep it below one.

As always, if you want to find learn more, or would like us to discuss something you’ve seen in the media or online, do let us know via Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, and include #BeDataBrilliant in your social post. Alternatively, you can find us at [email protected].

In the meantime, we hope you all stay well!

In conversations around #COVID19 a common #epidemiologic #metric is the #RNumber - essentially, a disease spread estimate. Learn more about it in Kevin Hanegan's latest blog post and #BeDataBrilliant.


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