Nevada leads the nation in a recent statistic: the number of people who become infected with the coronavirus by an infectious person.
The number is called the R(t) value, and the gap is not close. According to rt.live, a website that tracks each state’s COVID-19 data, Nevada’s number is 1.61. Second-place Florida’s number of 1.39, and the gap between Nevada and Florida is roughly the same as the gap between Florida and Oregon, the No. 15 state.
To put that number in perspective, if there is one person sick, and that one person infects six people, the R(t) will be 6.0.
By another method of calculation, the virus’ spread in Nevada ranks third in the nation.
Overall, 35 states have R(t) values at or above 1.0, which means the virus’ spread is steady or growing in the state. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia are below the mark, meaning the virus’ presence is shrinking.
Nevada’s R(t) value fell below 1.0 near the end of March and was third-lowest in the nation on April 22; the Silver State’s 0.71 trailed only New York and New Jersey on that date. The rate rose back over 1.0 on May 14, five days after the state’s Phase 1 reopening began.
The R number, officially called the basic reproduction number (R0) or the basic reproduction ratio/rate, is also used to describe the contagiousness of an infectious disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using the same data as rt.live, this tabulation lists Hawaii as the most contagious state at 1.57 for 819 confirmed cases. That state, in the third stage of its reopening plan, jumped over 1.0 on May 11.
Montana, at 1.54 and 743 cases, is No. 1, while Nevada comes in at No. 3, at 1.50 and 13,528 cases. By this measure, Nevada went back over 1.0 on May 17, just after its stay-at-home order expired May 15.