Last week there were several revelations which caused grave concerns. The COVID-19 virus was found to be more infectious, more dangerous and at the same time healthcare workers and patient protections appear to have been relaxed. Infectivity of a virus is measured by the R0 (pronounced R naught). This is the average number of individuals each infected person will infect. For the flu, this number is approximately 1.3. Initially, many were under the assumption that the COVID-19 virus was slightly more infectious than the flu. A few weeks ago it was described as 3 times as infectious, and last week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that the R0 was equal to 5.7.1At this level, over 80% of the population would have to be immune before herd immunity starts.2Part of the infectivity can be explained by the findings that under certain circumstances the virus can spread in aerosol form and spread with talking3and singing. The distance of spread from a sneeze has been estimated to be up to 27 feet.4

 

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