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COVID-19 In India: The Rise In R-Value Is A Cause Of Concern, Says Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS

R number refers to the effective reproduction number of COVID-19. In simpler terms, it denotes a disease’s capacity to spread

COVID-19 In India: The Rise In R-Value Is A Cause Of Concern, Says Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS
  • India has once again started to report a surge in daily COVID-19 cases
  • From .96 to 1, the rise in R-Value is a cause of concern: Dr Guleria
  • Kerala is reporting the maximum daily rise in COVID cases in India

New Delhi: India has once again started to see a rise in daily COVID-19 cases with majorly southern states including Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu reporting a huge spike in daily fresh cases. The concern here is the R-factor, the factor which indicates the speed of the COVID-19 infection spreading in the country. Overall, the R-factor has shot up to 1. NDTV speaks to Dr Randeep Guleria, Chief of AIIMS, to know how worrying is the current R-factor overall for India and then for Southern and North-eastern states as well?

Also Read: Covid Vaccines For Children: Experts Speak On The Options Available For India

It’s a cause of concern because as you have rightly said, R0 (pronounced as R naught) has gradually started going up. 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 gradually gone up and you will see an increase in the number of cases. If the R0 increases, the number of people one person can infect starts becoming more, and then it has a cascading effect, said Dr Guleria.

Further talking about the measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease, Dr Guleria stressed ‘aggressive action’ in areas where the R0 is going up. He said,

The government of India has already put actions in place many weeks ago in terms of limited lockdown, containment strategy, very aggressive surveillance, testing, tracking, treating and making sure that we don’t allow the cases to go out of control in that area and also that it doesn’t spread from one area to the other.

“The areas where R0 is going up, we need to act early rather than late so that we don’t allow the situation to go out of time”, he added.

Also Read: Explained: What Is A Breakthrough Infection And How To Prevent Catching COVID-19 After Getting Fully Vaccinated

R number refers to the effective reproduction number of COVID-19. In simpler terms, it denotes a disease’s capacity to spread. The R number is of three types – R0 (pronounced as R naught), R (eff), and Rt. While R0 measures the average number of people who are infected by a COVID-19 person when no control measures are implemented, R (eff) measures the average number of people that would be infected by a single infectious person, taking into account the public health interventions implemented to contain the spread of the virus.

When asked if it would be right to say that R-factor is the one thing that gives you the sign of the onset of COVID wave, Dr Guleria said, it’s one of the factors and added,

As a matter of fact, R0 is not the correct word to use. We can use what is known as R (eff) or efficacy because R0 is used predominantly when we are talking of individuals who have not been vaccinated. Now, we have a population that is susceptible but, part of them have also been vaccinated and therefore, are protected to some extent. Secondly, the important issue is also to look at the positivity rate and also the number of people being admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 infection and whether that is rising or not. That will give a comprehensive picture of how serious the problem is because we may have a situation where you may have the R0 still being borderline but a large number of people getting sick and coming into hospitals and that also needs to be factored in.

Also Read: Delta Variant Of COVID-19 May Spread As Easily As Chickenpox, Cause More Severe Infection: Reports

Last week, reports quoting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US health authority, 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. Explaining the statement, Dr Guleria said,

Measles or chickenpox used to have R0 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 chickenpox also. In a similar manner, when one person has Delta variant, the whole family is vulnerable.

Talking specifically about states like Kerala reporting over 20,000 new cases daily, for the last five days, Dr Guleria called to evaluate the surge in infections. Elaborating on change in COVID-19 situation in Kerala, the doctor said,

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.

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

Also Read: Third Wave Inevitable, COVID-19 Cases To Surge In Mid-August: Experts

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.


3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70


45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214


29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13


West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14


14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18



10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5


10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26



9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4



8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14


Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14



7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20



7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15



6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1


6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2


5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6


3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4



3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2


1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2


1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46



1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3


83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44



82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5


79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1


65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4


Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1


31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70



30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3


20,743 6

144 6



Dadra And Nagar Haveli


0 0




10,360 1

9 1



Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3


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