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Superspreaders and numbers R and K

We are now entering a new phase of the coronavirus epidemic in which the numbers of newly infected people are small but there are still many susceptible individuals. The virus is, unfortunately, not going away, but the outbreaks will now change their character. Instead of a single large growing epidemic wave, we are likely to see smaller – but still substantial and potentially lethal – outbreaks.

Epidemiologists use models to understand the details of viral transmission, and they are now talking about a new number, K, in addition to the famous number R. I have written an explanation of why K is important for The Conversation, Is the K number the new R number? What you need to know. A more technical description is available on this blog, under the title of What is the number K?

By the way, the readership of my articles in The Conversation has now crossed the 500,000 number, including well over 300,000 readers for the second wave article. Thank you all for your support!