The Welsh Conservatives’ health spokesman has been criticised after claiming that the coronavirus R-rate in Cardiff is 171.
The R is the growth rate of Covid-19 and anything over 1 means that every one person with the virus is infecting one other person.
As of 13 November, the R number was estimated to be between 0.9 and 1.2 in Wales. The figure suggested by Andrew RT Davies for Cardiff was closer to the number of cases per 100,000 of the population.
While criticising the Welsh Government’s decision to avoid appearing in person at the Senedd during parts of the lockdown, he said:
“Nice to see the Welsh Labour Government benches occupied again today. Worth reflecting that when they started their boycott of the Senedd the 7-day R rate in Cardiff stood at 134. Today it’s 171.”
Nice to see the Welsh Labour Government benches occupied again today. Worth reflecting that when they started their boycott of the Senedd the 7-day R rate in Cardiff stood at 134. Today it’s 171. With this sort of inconsistent messaging you can’t blame people for being confused!
— Andrew RT Davies (@AndrewRTDavies) November 24, 2020
A number of commentators responded to express their concern, as Daniel Longhurst did, that the “health spokesman has no clue about Covid metrics”.
Plaid Cymru councillor Cai Larsen responded to say: “This is extremely bad news. If the R rate is 171 then everyone in Wales will have Covid in fewer than two days.
“That or Andrew RT Davies is using Twitter to spread fake and hysterical facts about the pandemic.”
Another user suggested: “Andrew don’t do this unless you know what you are talking about. That is not the R number. You are supposed know these things in your brief. You have made a total fool of yourself.”
Sam Jobbins asked: “Wait, every infected person in Cardiff today is giving it to 171 other people?! Jesus Christ, hold your breath people!
“You really should try and understand what the numbers actually are before you use them, even if your point is utterly petty during a once-in-a-century pandemic.”
Rhian Llywelyn meanwhile suggested that he did not know his “R’s from your elbow!”
Nick Hawksworth said: “With this degree of error being put out regarding the R rate it’s not surprising people are confused.”
Twitter user Annwnaci added: “You clearly have no grasp of the measures used for the infection rate. The numbers you tweeted would be the rate per 100,000 persons.
“Furthermore the Week ending 13th November Wales had lower excess mortality than England, Northern Ireland and UK average. Only Scotland lower than Wales.”
Rhodri Tomos commented to say: “Doubtful if the R rate anywhere in Wales has ever been higher than 3. Please ask a scientist if you’re confused.”
Another commentator said: “If that was the R rate we’d be walking around in military nbc warfare kit!”