Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number exceeds 1 again, now at 1.28 – Vincent Marmara
maltas covid 19 reproduction number exceeds 1 again now at 1 28 vincent marmara - Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number exceeds 1 again, now at 1.28 – Vincent Marmara

Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number has once again exceeded 1 in the past week, now standing at 1.28, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Sunday in his exclusive weekly video blog on the Covid-19 situation in Malta.

The reproduction factor 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.

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Malta’s reproduction number had not exceeded 1 since last May, however it did exceed that number on 4 August, when Malta was facing a renewed peak of cases.  It dropped below 1 again two weeks ago, but has now increased following another spike of Covid-19 cases.

The increase comes as Malta reported 387 cases of the virus in the past week – the highest weekly total so far, exceeding the 374 reported three weeks ago.

Similarly, the percentage of positive cases from the number of swab tests has also continued to increase when compared to previous weeks.

In the past week, 2.6% of the swab tests carried out have come back positive – an increase on the 2.1% reported last week and the 1.1% reported the week before.

These statistics, along with the fact that 70% of the cases reported are coming from specific clusters, are important to calculate the reproduction factor of the virus, Marmara said.  In fact, this r-factor now stands at 1.28, he said.

He noted that with the reproduction factor over 1 again, it becomes all the more important to follow all restrictions in order to reduce transmission of the virus.

Casting an eye over the rest of Europe, Marmara noted how the number of daily cases in Spain has decreased after quite a substantial increase in the past weeks.  There have been slight increases in Germany and Italy as well, while France has continued to see a substantial increase in cases for another week.  The situation in the United Kingdom meanwhile has deteriorated slightly, with a substantial increase in the cases reported positive over the past week.

Turning further afield, Marmara noted the situation in Australia, which is obviously in a different season when compared to Europe.

He said that the data shows that their second wave has now decreased to the point that it is almost under control.

Marmara noted that the Covid-19 virus has gone through any stages, and is not like seasonal influenza in the sense that you do not know when it is coming and what factors are going to define it.

He said that the pandemic had gone through many cycles even in Malta; the first cycle was based on imported cases, another cycle was based on clusters, another on mass events, and the latest on clusters centered at homes for the elderly.

He said that even seeing these cycles, the restrictions reacting to them are different which makes modelling the data a bit more complex, but the details remain important in order to present a picture which is as scientifically accurate and correct as possible.

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