Although R0 might appear to be a simple measure that can be used to determine infectious disease transmission dynamics and the threats that new outbreaks pose to the public health, the definition, calculation, and interpretation of R0 are anything but simple. R0 remains a valuable epidemiologic concept, but the expanded use of R0 in both the scientific literature and the popular press appears to have enabled some misunderstandings to propagate. R0 is an estimate of contagiousness that is a function of human behavior and biological characteristics of pathogens. R0 is not a measure of the severity of an infectious disease or the rapidity of a pathogen’s spread through a population. R0 values are nearly always estimated from mathematical models, and the estimated values are dependent on numerous decisions made in the modeling process. The contagiousness of different historic, emerging, and reemerging infectious agents cannot be fairly compared without recalculating R0 with the same modeling assumptions. Some of the R0 values commonly reported in the literature for past epidemics might not be valid for outbreaks of the same infectious disease today.
R0 can be misrepresented, misinterpreted, and misapplied in a variety of ways that distort the metric’s true meaning and value. Because of these various sources of confusion, R0 must be applied and discussed with caution in research and practice. This epidemiologic construct will only remain valuable and relevant when used and interpreted correctly.
Don’t Forget The Bubbles — a blog for medical professionals specializing in pediatrics — partnered with the UK Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health to track and review studies on COVID-19 in children, according to its website. Using research from 78 of those studies, it released a 45-page report on April 22 that extracts early findings on the epidemiology, transmission and symptoms of the coronavirus in children.
The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely they do not play a significant role.
Johan Giesecke, a state epidemiologist who advises the World Health Organisation, said the UK’s death toll suggested instating harsh social restrictions was not the best method of tackling the pandemic.
Throughout the UK’s coronavirus crisis, the government has stressed its response has been guided not by ideology; not by politics – but by the science. So what are the scientific justifications for lockdown?
Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, an epidemiologist and lung disease specialist, explains coronavirus testing.
Update 16 December 2020: This video has been censored from YouTube. An archived mirror is available below.