The reproduction rate, or R value, of Covid-19 in India has crossed the 1.0 mark, the Union government said on Tuesday. The increasing trend of the reproduction, commonly known as “R value or number” in some states was a cause of concern, the government added, according to PTI.

The R value measures how many people are being infected by one Covid-positive person on an average. For instance, a value between 0.7 and 0.9 means that every 10 Covid-positive people will pass on the infection to seven to nine others.

The number of infections keeps rising if the R value is more than 1. If the value declines, the infection will eventually stop spreading because there will not be enough new cases for the outbreak to continue.

Five states – Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh – have reported that the R value has gone beyond the 1.0-mark, the Union government said at a joint press briefing on the pandemic, reported PTI.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences chief Randeep Guleria had on July 31 said that the R value had been rising. “Simply put, this means that the chances of infection spreading from a person, who has Covid, to others have gone up,” he added.

Meanwhile, as many as 37 districts in nine states were showing a rising trend of daily new Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks, the government said on Tuesday. The Centre added that 44 districts in 11 states and Union Territories registered a weekly Covid-19 positivity rate of over 10%.

There has been stabilisation in Covid-19 cases in India, the government said, adding that there were signs to enforce pandemic control measures.

The Union government said Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus had been found in 86 samples in India, as of August 9.

The Kerala government has reported 51.51% of the total Covid-19 cases recorded in India in the past week, the government said.

On the deaths in the country due to lack of oxygen supplies, the Centre said that one state has so far reported a “suspected case”.

“States were asked about deaths related to oxygen shortage,” Union health ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said, according to ANI. “As per reports so far, one state informed us about a suspected case. All states that sent us reports so far, have not told us that they’ve specifically reported a death due to oxygen.”

India’s oxygen crisis

India struggled with a grave oxygen crisis in the second wave of the pandemic, which peaked in April and May. The shortages of the life-saving gas as well as medicines and hospital beds forced families and friends of patients to plead for help on social media.

Hospitals sent out SOS messages as their oxygen stocks ran dangerously low. Several reports emerged of patients dying because of oxygen shortages.

But on July 20, the Centre told the Parliament that states did not specifically report any deaths due to oxygen shortages. Opposition leaders and health experts derided the Centre for making such a claim, saying that the response was rather bureaucratic and reflected its denial mode.

A week after that, the Centre asked the states and Union territories to share data on deaths due to the shortage of oxygen. The government is likely present the data in the Parliament before the Monsoon Session ends on August 13.