The Czech COVID-19 R number has dropped to 1

According to estimates from Data Against COVID, the virus reproduction number has fallen to 1 in the Czech Republic for the first time since August

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 02.11.2020 15:27:00 (updated on 02.11.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic's seven-day COVID-19 reproduction number (R number) has dropped to 1 for the first time since August, according to the latest estimates from Data Against COVID (Data proti COVID), an initiative from local IT companies and individuals to help in the fight against coronavirus.

The number indicates that recent measures taken to curb the spread of the virus have begun to take effect, and a measured decrease in the daily number of new COVID-19 cases could soon follow if the trend continues.

The R number represents how many people a single infected person will pass the virus to. Data Against COVID has been recording daily estimates of the Czech Republic's R number since the beginning of the epidemic in March, using data provided by the Czech Health Ministry.

On October 9, the Czech COVID-19 R number stood at 1.5; it has slowly decreased since that date, and fallen from 1.3 on October 25, according to Data Against COVID.

While that doesn't seem like a huge difference, a sustained R number above 1 indicates exponential spread of the virus. A sustained R number below 1, on the other hand, would result in the virus dying out, as it spreads to fewer and fewer people.

According to Data Against COVID estimates, the last time the Czech Republic reported a seven-day R number of 1 or less was on August 23. The R number in the country was at or below 1 for much of April, May, June and July.

Announcing some of the last-implemented anti-COVID-19 measures, ex-Czech Health Minister Roman Prymula stated that the R number needed to get below below 0.8 for the situation in the country to become manageable, and for those measures to be loosened.

While the Czech Republic has reached an R number of 1, however, sustaining it may not guaranteed.

After reaching a ten-week high of 1.6 on September 12, new measures helped lower the country's R number to 1.1 by the end of September. But a week into October, and the number had shot back up to 1.5.

The COVID-19 R number in the Czech Republic reached a high of 3 at the very beginning of the epidemic on March 11. Swift lockdown measures, however, succeeded in gradually lowering that number to below 1 within the span of a month.

The current anti-COVID-19 restrictions in place in the Czech Republic are roughly equivalent to the ones introduced in the spring, if not even stronger.

The official Czech R number is reported by the Czech Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS) once per week, so small differences with the daily Data Against COVID numbers are possible.

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