Much has been said about R0 since the start of the coronavirus epidemic. What is it about ? How to bring it down? How is it evolving in the regions? The question was asked to a medical specialist.
Since the start of the coronavirus epidemic (in January 2020 in Asia), much has been said about R0, an indicator presented as a reflection of the speed of spread of Sars-Cov-2, the virus responsible for the Covid-19 disease. But what is it exactly?
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In medical terms, it is said that R0 corresponds to the basic reproduction rate of a virus. Clearly: “this is the number of people who can potentially be infected by an individual infected with a virus” explains Dr. William Berrebi, gastroenterologist and hepatologist, and former intern of the Paris Hospitals.
The R0 indicator is therefore not specific to the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus: it can be measured for any viral epidemic. “At the height of the coronavirus epidemic, at the end of March 2020, the R0 was 2.8, which means that each infected person could transmit the virus to around 3 other people,” says Dr. Berrebi. For comparison, the R0 of measles is 16 and that of gastroenteritis is 17: these are viruses that circulate much more easily than Sars-Cov-2 in the population. “
Coronavirus R0 on the rise in several regions of France
Some benchmarks. When the R0 of an epidemic drops to 0, the virus no longer circulates and the epidemic goes out: conversely, the higher it is, the more the epidemic increases. “When the R0 exceeds 1, it is estimated that the epidemic is active: at the time, this corresponded to the departments in orange on the map of France, notes Dr. Berrebi. When it reaches 1.5, it is an alert threshold: it corresponded to the departments in red. “
Where are we today? On June 11, 2020, the R0 of the Sars-Cov-2 fell to 0.73 “mainly thanks to the containment measures” estimates Dr. Berrebi. Today, the R0 is dangerously close to the critical limit since it reaches 0.92 on the metropolitan territory: in the Normandy region, it even reached 1.72, according to figures published by Santé Publique France this Friday, June 26 2020.
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“The rise in R0 corresponds, in my opinion, to a relaxation of barrier gestures in the population: in consultation, we see certain patients without protective masks,” says Dr. Berrebi. My advice is very simple: imperatively wear a protective mask when you go to an enclosed space (store, restaurant, medical office, etc.) to limit the spread of the virus responsible for Covid-19. “
Another effective strategy: testing and isolating each patient affected by Covid-19: “if we identify infected people early enough by means of tests, we can (in a way) remove these people from the circuit and prevent them from contaminating their entourage, thus avoiding the spread of R0 ”- this is the strategy recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)!
But for the specialist, it is likely that only vaccination will really put an end to the epidemic of coronavirus: “it is thanks to vaccination that the R0 of the seasonal flu has fallen to 0.5: it is therefore very likely that while awaiting vaccination against Covid-19, we can see permanent oscillations in this key indicator ”.
Thanks to Dr. William Berrebi, gastroenterologist and hepatologist, former intern of the Paris Hospitals, author of the podcast Merci Docteur! and Virus-Animal-Human: (Very) Dangerous Links – From AIDS to Covid-19.
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The Coronavirus article: what is the RO region by region in France? first appeared on Snap221.info.