Real-Time Estimation of R t for Supporting Public-Health Policies Against COVID-19.

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In the absence of a consensus protocol to slow down the spread of SARS-CoV-2, policymakers need real-time indicators to support decisions in public health matters. The Effective Reproduction Number (R
t
) represents the number of secondary infections generated per each case and can be dramatically modified by applying effective interventions. However, current methodologies to calculate R
t
from data remain somewhat cumbersome, thus raising a barrier between its timely calculation and application by policymakers. In this work, we provide a simple mathematical formulation for obtaining the effective reproduction number in real-time using only and directly daily official case reports, obtained by modifying the equations describing the viral spread. We numerically explore the accuracy and limitations of the proposed methodology, which was demonstrated to provide accurate, timely, and intuitive results. We illustrate the use of our methodology to study the evolution of the pandemic in different iconic countries, and to assess the efficacy and promptness of different public health interventions.

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