= 0 is a threshold for disease spread, just like [Formula: see text] [ 1], and show that we can measure the strength and speed of an intervention on the same scale as the strength and speed of an epidemic, respectively. We argue that, while the strength-based paradigm provides the clearest insight into certain questions, the speed-based paradigm provides the clearest view in other cases. As an example, we show that evaluating the prospects of 'test-and-treat' interventions against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be done more clearly on the speed than strength scale, given uncertainty in the proportion of HIV spread that happens early in the course of infection. We also discuss evaluating the effects of the importance of pre-symptomatic transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We suggest that disease modellers should avoid over-emphasizing the reproductive number at the expense of the exponential growth rate, but instead look at these as complementary measures.