R0 is a term commonly used in epidemiology that helps to describe the rate of infection of a disease.
In epidemiology, the basic reproduction number or R0 (pronounced “R nought”) of an infection can be thought of as the expected number of cases generated by one case in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection.
Yes and no. There are many ways to come to a conclusion on what the R0 of an infectious disease is, but there is a formula that epidemiologists use to find this number. R0 = S * L * β
S = Susceptible Hosts – This is the number of people an infected individual comes into contact with per day while infectious with a disease.
L = Length of Infection – The number of days that an infected individual is infectious to the people he comes into contact with.
β = Transmissibility – This is a number that quantifies the ability for an infectious agent to spread between people or from the agent hosts to people.
Once again the answer is yes and no. There are many reasons why this formula might not result in a very accurate answer. Let’s explore a few.
There are specific governmental bodies that publish data about infectious disease. They report cases, deaths, R0, mortality rate, and so much more. Please check them out for the most accurate data on infectious disease.
R0 or R-naught represents the number of new infections estimated to stem from a single case.
R0 or R-naught is important because it helps us to determine if a contagion will continue to spread faster than we can contain it. An R0 under 1 means we can go back to normal life. An R0 over 1 indicates growth and spread of a contagion and society will be shut down.
R0 or R-naught is a messy number. It is formed from science, forensic investigation, complex mathematical models, and some guesswork by the scientists formulating the answer. This number can change from day-to-day and from location to location. For this reason R0 is complicated to say the least.
Scientists estimate that the R0 or R-naught of the COVID-19 outbreak to be between 2.2-2.3. This number does change from time to time and from place to place.