The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

Covid-19 reproduction rate up as a result of social activities – Marmara

Sunday, 3 January 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 19 days ago

Social activities held over the festive period have led to an increase in Covid-19 cases and the reproduction number – the r-factor – has increased to 0.61, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Sunday in his weekly video blog.

The reproduction number 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 for countries 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.


Marmara noted that there was an increase in positive cases over the past week, likely the result of social activities held over Christmas and New Year.

The percentage of positive cases out of the number of tests performed also increased this week, to 4.4%

The number of deaths was on similar levels to recent weeks, although slightly lower than last week.

The number of recoveries went down. This week we had more positive cases than recoveries, he noted. When considering all these factors, the r-factor has increased slightly to 0.61

“One now has to see if the cases will keep increasing as a result of the social activities and what their impact will be.”

Marmara noted that the situation is similar in many major European countries. The UK has seen a substantial increase in new cases, while France, Spain and Italy registered slight increases. On the other hand, Germany saw a slight decrease in new cases.

He appealed to the public to remain vigilant, especially in view of the fact that the new variant of the virus, which can spread more quickly, has been detected in Malta.

“Until many thousands of people have received the vaccine, we need to remain vigilant. We need to be careful so that we do not see an increase in cases and keep the pandemic under control and the r-factor low. This will result in fewer new infections and fewer deaths. It is important to keep following the instructions issued by the health authorities and, eventually, due to the vaccine, the situation will become much better.”

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