What does exponential growth mean in the context of COVID-19?
The spread of coronavirus boils down to a simple math lesson Patients waited in line March 25 for a covid-19 test at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York. (John Minchillo/AP) With roughly 85,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States as of Friday morning, it’s seemingly impossible to follow the updates without hearing of the pandemic’s “exponential spread.” Covid-19 has been spreading across Western Europe and is now showing up in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. March began with about 100 confirmed cases throughout the country, and could end with close to a quarter of a million, based on statistics from Johns Hopkins University. [Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”] At this rate of spread, a simple run of the numbers suggests close to 100,000 U.S. cases by the end of Friday, with a quarter of a million cases by April 1. Unless the curve at which covid-19 is spreading flattens soon, the country is likely to hit the millionth case mark by April 11. This is exponential growth at its worst — but what does that mean? Growth types Let’s say you spend $10 a day commuting