India’s ‘R-Value’ increasing, COVID infection to spread faster: AIIMS chief

This week, reports quoting the US health authority - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - said that Delta variant of the coronavirus may cause more severe illness.

New Delhi: The rate at which the COVID-19 infection spreads has increased in India and it is now a major concern, said AIIMS chief, Dr. Randeep Guleria in an interview to NDTV on Saturday.

“Starting from .96, and going all the way up to 1, the rise in R-Value is a cause of concern. Simply put, this means that the chances of infection spreading from a person, who has Covid, to others have gone up. The areas which are witnessing this surge should bring in restrictions and employ “test, track, and treat” strategy to break the chain of transmission,” Dr Guleria explained. The R-Factor is an indicator of the effective reproductive number of a virus.

This week, reports quoting the US health authority – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – said that Delta variant of the coronavirus may cause more severe illness than all other known versions of the virus and spread as easily as chickenpox.

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Explaining this, Dr Guleria said: “Measles or chicken pox used to have R factor of 8 or more, which means one person could infect eight others. That suggests that coronavirus is highly infectious. We saw that during the second wave in India, because entire families were getting infected. This happens with chicken pox also. In a similar manner, when one person has Delta variant, the whole family is vulnerable.”

 Dr Guleria further stressed. “In the beginning, Kerala had set a precedent for others by managing the pandemic well. They also had an aggressive vaccination drive. Yet despite that, are witnessing a spike in a way that’s different from other parts of the country. This needs to be evaluated. Also, is there a variant behind the surge? Are containment strategies being aggressively followed – all this needs to be evaluated,” the AIIMS chief explained.

Neighbouring states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also need to adopt aggressive testing strategy to break the chain of transmission, he added.

Meanwhile India saw a single-day rise of 41,831 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 3,16,55,824, while the cumulative vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 47 crore, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.

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