The Malta Independent 18 October 2021, Monday

Malta’s current Covid-19 reproduction number is 1.55 – Vincent Marmara

Albert Galea Sunday, 16 August 2020, 08:40 Last update: about 2 years ago

Malta’s current Covid-19 reproduction number stands at 1.55, statistician Vincent Marmara said in his exclusive weekly video blog with The Malta Independent on Sunday.

The reproduction ratio of the virus is one of the key figures which countries across the world have been trying to reduce ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The aim has been to reduce the ratio to a level of 1 – which would mean that one person would transmit the virus to one other person.

Noting that this past week was one where the highest number of cases was registered in Malta during the pandemic by quite some margin, Marmara said that the figures need to be taken into context and especially compared with the total number of tests being carried out.

He observed that in the first peak of the pandemic, 2.6% of all tests carried out resulted in positive cases of Covid-19 while in the last week that figure stood at 2.1%.

While this does not detract from the number of cases, he said that it is an important statistic to take into consideration when calculating the reproduction number.

That number currently stands at 1.55, he said.

The reproduction ratio is calculated based on an SEIR model wherein a particle filter algorithm is used to ascertain the most accurate reproduction value based on a variety of data including case numbers, clusters, and test numbers.

Speaking about the situation in the rest of Europe, Marmara said that there had been increases in cases in France, Belgium, and Spain in particular, while there were also increase in the United Kingdom and Italy although not at the same rate.

Finally, Marmara shared a word of caution on information which is being published about the pandemic.

He appealed for caution on what is being published, and said that those who are publishing information such as the reproduction number should make sure that it is backed up by the correct mathematical models and scientific principles.

He said that one must be responsible when publishing such information in order not to create alarm, and appealed to the public to be careful when it comes to what to believe.

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