COVID-19 reproduction number in government reports

Date of article: 27 June 2020


The Basic Reproduction Number (R0) vs Effective Reproduction Number (Rt)

The Basic Reproduction Number or the R0 (R-nought) is often used by scientists as an indicator for the contagiousness or transmissibility of an infectious disease. However the R0 does not represent the actual reproduction number in a country as the actual reproduction number can be influenced by measures taken in a country (lockdown, mask usage, social distancing, etc.) or other circumstances (e.g. climate / weather)

To get an idea of the current contagiousness or transmissibility in a country or area, the Effective Reproduction Number (or Rt) is used. This number represents how many new cases one single person is to cause on average. In recent weeks more and more countries have started reporting their current R-value on official COVID-19 government websites and/or COVID-19 government reports. Below an impression of the current R-values in Europe according to national authorities.


Germany

After a spike last week up to 1.5, Germany currently has a 7 day R-value at 1.02. (Source: RKI)

Belgium

Three weeks ago the Rt in Belgium was 0.81, but in the last two weeks the R-value was estimated at 0.87. (Source: sciensano.be)

Spain

Back in March the reproduction number in Spain was estimated far above 2. Since April the Rt has been estimated below 1, with a spike above 1 in mid June. The latest known estimate in Spain is 0.86. (Source: Instituto de Salud Carlos III)

Norway

The reproduksjonstall in Norway has been mostly below 1 since the second half of March, but after a brief spike above 1, it's now estimated as "likely slightly below 1". (Source: Folkehelseinstituttet)

The Netherlands

The effective reproduction number in the Netherlands was below 1 according to national authorities in most of March, April and May. However the latest published estimate has the R-value at 1.05. (Source: RIVM)

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is the country doing by far most tests per capita in recent weeks. Similar to some other European countries, it had a R-value below 1 for most of March, April and May, but recently saw the Rt spike above 1. Luxembourg currently estimates the R-value on 0.94. (Source: MOH Luxembourg)

France

In the weekly report by French public health authorities there is a breakdown of the R-value in France to provinces (see table below). For mainland France the R-value is currently estimated on 0.92, which is the highest value in June so far.


Do you know of more European governments who publish a Rt-value? Share it with us by sending an e-mail or Twitter message!

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