**‘I’ve got your number, Lilley!’**

That was how my relationship with the geography teacher, started.

**I didn’t know what he meant, so I asked Mum. Next thing, she was at the school, demanding to know why her number-one-son was being picked on. Nobody messed with The Duchess.**

My relationship with the maths-master was entirely different. He welcomed inquiry, was creative, made numbers interesting and important.

**Some numbers are really important.**

Pi, is great number. The ratio of a circle’s circumference, to its diameter. It’s also an irrational number, meaning it can’t be written as a simple fraction. It’s celebrated with its own ‘day’, 14th March.

**Better still is two Pi, called Tau. Roughly 6.28… don’t ask! **

Take the P out of Pi and you’re left with ‘i’, which is the square root of -1 and a very naughty boy… you’re not supposed to take the square root of a negative number.

**Euler’s number,**** ‘e’ is the foundation of exponential functions. Simply, if I start with two rabbits, after a month I’ll probably have four. After two months, eight and in three months, 16.**

This is important to us today, right now, as it is at the heart of R. The extent to which one person might spread CV-19 to others and how many.

**Unlike Pi, or E, elegant numbers with style and breeding, R is a ruffian. R is a mongrel number. If it had a name it would be Jack Dawkins, the artful dodger.**

If it had a job, it would be a pickpocket. If it had a voice, it would be a busker.

**R, the calculation for transmission of virus in a community, is a mere average. The lowliest of calculations and probably the most misleading.**

For every average, there will be half above and half below.

**Averages are relied upon by spiv-statisticians; **

If three people have 50 and one has 15, the average is 41 and a bit. In no way representative.

If three people have 15 and one has 50, the average is nearly 24… useless.

**Averages can be dressed up. The ‘mean’, is an average in drag. Geometric-mean and harmonic-mean are numbers living above their station and way beyond their means.**

Numbers are disreputable, unreliable and at the same time precise and accurate. It depends who is using the calculator and what is their purpose.

**R is a fraudster, a conman, a scammer. **

R is supposed to tell us when it’s safe to go back to work, it does nothing of the sort. R is supposed to guide us in our most important decisions, it does nothing of the sort… because it is nothing other than a jumped up average.

**R, to give it its full name, it’s the reproductive rate. The R rate for CV-19 is thought to be three. To be honest that is little more than an educated guess. **

One person will infect three others and remembering *Euler’s number*, they, each, will infect three more and CV-19 will breed like rabbits.

**If we stop going out, don’t meet people, the R number will drop.**

The problem is, the R-rate will be higher in in a care home or a hospital, than in a garden centre or your place. By all accounts the national R is under one.

**Actually, in the North West it is over one and in the south west, hovering around one.**

*(There is more here and is a must read)*

In Blackpool, I hear R is 1.6 and in Newham in London, dunno, but it has the highest death-rate in England and the Mayor has refused to open the schools.

**R, used as a national indicator, is a charlatan because it’s an average. It is not a canary in the mine. It’s a dead parrot.**

However, R, telling us what the reproduction rate is, in a region, our postcode, our community, is entirely different. It morphs into a life saver. Tells us about hot-spots, what we can do safely and where we should throw the kitchen sink at testing and tracing.

**The problem; HMG won’t use regional-R, or local-R, or community-R, thus, we’re all at risk… because they’re mesmerised by a mathematical mean, by that gangster, National R. **

So, stay home, wash your hands, wear a mask, because I’ve got your number and you’re above the average…

News and Comment from Roy Lilley

Contact Roy – please use this e-address roy.lilley@nhsmanagers.net

Reproduced at TrainingPrimaryCare.com by kind permission of Roy Lilley.