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LETTER: On the virus and ‘exponential growth’

Updated November 24, 2020 - 9:17 pm

The Nevada Hospital Association recently decreed that they are experiencing an “exponential growth” of COVID hospitalizations. Do they even know what that phrase means? An exponential growth is nothing more than a growth with a multiplicative factor compounded over a certain period of time. If one person had COVID, and the number doubled daily without limit, everyone in the country would have COVID within about 35 days.

Exponential growth doesn’t even mean growing quickly. A savings account at your bank accruing one half of 1 percent interest per year is also an exponential growth. The phrase means nothing without knowing the multiplicative factor and the timeframe.

It appears as though the phrase “exponential growth” is being used to disseminate fear; it is not being used to disseminate knowledge. Are these the scientists that Gov. Steve Sisolak is listening to when he makes COVID policy? Does he just listen to academics trying to move points on a graph? Or does he listen to other scientists — oncologists, cardiologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, drug overdose specialists and the like — who have seen the resulting carnage from shutdowns? We will know soon enough.

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