Ease in the lockdown might increase reproduction rate of Coronavirus

by Shatakshi Gupta

From past few months world is living under restrictions due to COVID-19 Pandemic, but the world cannot remain under lockdown for so long. So countries are easing the restrictions to spin the wheel of economy again. But these relaxations might cost too much to us like it is seen Germany. On Monday a second wave of infection was observed in Germany after the relaxation in lockdown. The R0( R not) or reproduction rate was found higher than 1 here, which is worrisome.

The reproduction rate of virus tells the transmission rate or how many people get infected from one person, for example if R0 is 1 then it indicates that one person is infecting only one person. Reproduction rate above 1 indicates that transmission is increasing exponentially, whereas R0 below 0 reflects that virus is eventually wiping out.

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Reproduction rate of virus depends on many factors like population density, it can be substantiated by the fact that rural India is still out of red zones and almost all major metropolitan cities in India, where population density is high comes under red zones. R0 also depends on other factors like social distancing, maintaining hygiene, wearing mask. These measures along with lockdown helped  so much in mitigating the cascading effect of this novel virus.

Another major factor influencing this rate is the incubation period, the average incubation period( time in which a person shows symptoms) of this virus is 5 days, it means that a person unknowingly spread virus during this period as this person remains unaware of the presence of virus in his body.  Acquired immunity for a virus either naturally or through vaccine also affect the reproduction rate, but this virus is new to world so neither we have vaccine nor we have acquired herd immunity.

It is so concerning if reproduction rate goes above 1, also we cannot measure actual R0 due to lack of testing facility. The case of Germany is now alarming the world to think twice before opening lockdowns. The only way possible here is to maintain a balance between Economy and saving life by opening lockdown in phased manner and also by behavioural change in people.