Contagion 2: The R Naught

In a scene in the movie Contagion, the character played by Kate Winslet writes on a dry erase board:

                                                                      – reproductive rate of the virus
Flu   –   1
Smallpox  –  3
Polio  –  4-6

Winslet explains, “What we need to determine is this: For every person who gets sick, how many other people are they likely to infect? For seasonal flu that’s usually about one. Small pox, on the other hand, is over three. Now before we had a vaccine, polio spread at a rate between four and six. Now we call that number the r naught. R stands for reproductive rate of the virus.”

A man asks, “Any ideas what that might be for this?

She answers, “How fast it multiplies depends on a variety of factors. The incubation period. How long a person is contagious. Sometimes people can be contagious without even having symptoms. We need to know that too. And we need to know how big the population of people who are susceptible to the virus might be.”

A lady responds, “So far that seems to be people with hands, a mouth, and a nose.”

Winslet, “Once we know the RNOT, we’ll be able to get a handle on the scale of the epidemic.”

The lady argues, “So it’s an epidemic now. An epidemic of what?!”

Since my first encounter with Jesus I have been obsessed with Him. And I am absolutely convinced that what everyone needs is a relationship with God through Jesus. The question I’ve been asking for the last twenty-two years is: how do we increase the r naught? How do we increase the reproductive rate so people who have caught the “disease” might infect more people with it?

What’s the answer to that question?