COVID-19 spread at a dangerously high rate in Quebec at the end of August

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As Quebec reported its highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since June Thursday, the province’s public health institute released data showing the virus was spreading at a dangerously high rate at the end of the month August – and probably still is.

The institute, the INSPQ, this week began publishing the R-value, otherwise known as the breeding number, for COVID-19 in Quebec. The number can help show whether the pandemic is stable, under control, or out of control.

The last value available, 11 days ago, shows that the virus was not under control in Quebec; the R-value calculated from data available on August 23 was 1.27.

The value gives an indication of the number of people infected on average by a positive case of COVID-19. An R-value of two, for example, means that each infected person passes it on to two others during the time they are contagious. When the R-value is greater than one, the cases increase. When the R-value is less than one, the cases decrease and the pandemic is considered to be under control.

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