HEALTH

K metric for COVID-19 shows there are superspreaders of the virus

Jun 8, 2020, 9:47 PM | Updated: 9:59 pm
27 Republican states filled federal lawsuits  against President Biden's vaccine mandate on private ...
27 Republican states filled federal lawsuits against President Biden's vaccine mandate on private companies. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

LONDON — You probably know the R number. It’s the number of people a patient with a virus spreads it to.  Get the R below one, and the virus dies out.  The R is an average, however, of everyone who has the virus.  But to get the full picture of how the coronavirus is spreading through superspreaders, some scientists say you have to know the K.  

A BBC report from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) details this metric.  The K measures the difference in how many the infected, infect.  For instance, the flu’s K is 2, which means people with it more or less consistently give it to 2 other people.  Even more reliable is a higher K, like 5 or 10.  There you can be sure that that illness is infecting a similar number of people.  The report says that the coronavirus K has a low K of .16, meaning there are “?a lot of variations between people,” and that some people are Superspreading.

Following on the WHO’s announcement that said asymptomatic carriers rarely spread the virus, LSHTM’s Dr. Adam Kurcharski says, “Typically, what happens is a lot of people don’t [give it] to anyone. Then there’s a handful of events where you see large amounts of transmission happening with five, 10, 20 people potentially infected.” 

The report says the traits of a superspreader can be varied:  They might be someone with severe symptoms, a nurse with insufficient PPE carrying a higher viral load, or someone that goes to a mass gathering and doesn’t socially distance.  Cruise ships and care homes have been superspreading venues.   

In theory, identifying superspreaders and superspreading behavior can help with easing some of the restrictions of lockdowns, while still vigilantly canceling big public events. 

The BBC reports that data shows just 10 to 15% of people are behind 80% of all infections. 

 

  

 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 

 

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Resources for more information: 

 

LOCAL: 

State of Utah:https://coronavirus.utah.gov/ 

Utah State Board of Education 

Utah Hospital Association 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707 

National Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States 

 

 

 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

A new study finds that reports of bad weather and air actually decrease ridership on the UTA....
Devin Oldroyd

Relief from inversion and poor air quality may be in Utah’s near future

The Beehive State is in the middle of some thick inversion and poor air quality, but relief may be on the way according to the National Weather Service.
2 days ago
A study by Intermountain Health that spanned 40 years and sought answers about the health of people...
Simone Seikaly

Intermountain’s 40-year study provides insight into weight-loss surgery

In some cases the results from the weight-loss surgery study were expected. But at least one result could be a cause for alarm and caution.
2 days ago
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a recall for mil...
Simone Seikaly

Check your pantry, a Conagra canned meat recall may affect you

Millions of pounds of canned meat and poultry products (mainly Vienna sausages) are involved in the Conagra recall.
2 days ago
Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming mon...
Waverly Golden

As two federal pandemic emergency-assistance programs near an end, Cox has solutions

Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming months due to more job opportunities.
2 days ago
FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
6 days ago
A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
K metric for COVID-19 shows there are superspreaders of the virus