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Explainer: What is the R number, how high is it now and how is it calculated?

Eilish O'Regan


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People wearing facemasks on Grafton Street Dublin during the Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

People wearing facemasks on Grafton Street Dublin during the Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

People wearing facemasks on Grafton Street Dublin during the Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Covid-19 message is getting very confusing. On the one hand there are dire warnings about the rising R number. Yet at the same time it will be a case of "bon voyage" to holidaymakers from Ireland flying to a "green list" European country from next week.

One thing is certain, the fluctuating R number will rule our lives for a long time to come and will even determine if we go back into lockdown.