INSIGHTS pieces on corona crisis
Tracking R of COVID-19
Simas Kucinskas

The world is facing a COVID-19 pandemic, with the World Health Organization currently reporting more than 2.3 million cases of the disease worldwide

To fight COVID-19, governments around the world have introduced unprecedented public health measures, ranging from school closures to full-scale lockdowns. To know whether these measures are working—as well as when they may be lifted—it is key to track the dynamics of COVID-19 in real time.

In a new study, we develop a novel way to measure the effective reproduction number (R) of COVID-19. In short, R is the average number of people infected by a single infectious individual. It’s the key metric for assessing whether we are successful in the fight against COVID-19. The disease is under control if R<1.

Our estimates are provided in an online dashboard ( You can use the dashboard to find the current value of R where you live, compare multiple countries, or see how R has changed over time. The underlying code and data are posted online. Users of the dashboard are also encouraged to compare these new estimates to those obtained using existing approaches here and here

Timely data is key for evidence-based policy in our fight against COVID-19. We hope that these new estimates and the associated dashboard may prove useful for policymakers and citizens during these difficult times.


Simas Kucinskas (HU Berlin)


Kucinskas, Simas. Tracking R of COVID-19.

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