An ICMR study has found that 1 COVID patient can infect 406 people in 30 days if preventive measures such as lockdown and social distancing are not implemented, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
With preventive measures in place, the possibility of the infection can be reduced to an average of just two-and-a-half persons per patient in the same period, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal said.
‘Adopt social distancing’
Referring to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study, Agarwal said the current ‘R0’ or ‘R naught’ for the coronavirus infection is somewhere between 1.5 and 4. ‘R0’ is a mathematical term that indicates how contagious an infectious disease is. It tells the average number of people who will catch a disease from one infected person.
“If we take the ‘R0’ to be 2.5, then one positive person can infect 406 people in 30 days, if the lockdown and social distancing measures are not in place, but if social exposure is reduced by 75 per cent then that one sick person will only be able to infect only 2.5 persons,” Agarwal said, highlighting the importance of the ongoing 21-day lockdown and social distancing.
He appealed to the people to adopt social distancing and follow the lockdown order, saying this is a very important intervention in terms of coronavirus management. “Hence, again request you to follow social distancing, it is a social vaccine in management of COVID-19,” he said.
Responding to a query on speculations on social media regarding the extension of the nationwide lockdown, Agarwal said, “Whenever a decision is taken, it will be informed. Till a decision is officially communicated, please refrain from speculation.”