TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Dr. David Figurski Speaks Out about the Exponential Spread of Coronavirus

Learn About It

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

David Columbia Award May 2017

David H. Figurski  Professor Emeritus of Columbia University  Microbiology and Immunology

Why are the WHO, scientists, and some leaders really worried about this pandemic? Why has society been asked to basically shutdown? Why has the governor of California predicted that half of the State will be infected with the new coronavirus?

… because viruses spread exponentially throughout a population.

Exponential spread is a concept that is not intuitive to humans. Here is an easy-to-understand illustration of the explosive power of an exponential function.

Start with $0.01. Then double the amount every day. (You will have $0.02 on day 2, $0.04 on day 3, $0.08 on day 4, etc.) Continue doing this every day for a month (30 days). It’s an piggy-bank-png-clip-art-image-5a1ca3f171b701.9718908215118264174658-1exponential function because every day you double the amount of the previous day (i.e., in this case, you multiply by 2) to get a new amount.

Watch how exponential growth leads to an explosion in the amount.

On day 1, you start with $0.01.1
On day 7, you will have $0.64
On day 14, you will have $81.92
On day 21, you will have $10,485.76
On day 28, you will have $1,342,177.28
On day 30, you will have $5,368,709.12

The number of coronavirus infections in the US is about to explode! The US pandemic is like about day 14 of the example. Some people are still thinking, “No big deal.” They have no idea of what’s about to happen.

A friend sent a link to me of a video that explains exponential growth in simple, very easy to understand math. Have a look. I highly recommend it. (How is Covid-19 Growing?)

People are totally wrong to be complacent about this pandemic. There have been relatively few confirmed cases, so some people are thinking we’ve got this licked. They’re wrong for two reasons. (1) The US was unprepared for this outbreak. Few (except the very sick and some celebrities) have been tested because the US had an insufficient number of test kits. So, it’s an illusion that we are seeing so few people with the virus. (2) They don’t understand the concept of the immense power of exponential spread.Growth_Bar_Graph

The primary reason people are alarmed by the number of infections is the high death rate of people who have been infected. As of this writing, deaths are 11,402 worldwide, while cases are said to be 276,104 (WorldoMeters). Calculated death rates have ranged from 1.4% (the latest, from Wuhan) to 4%.

There are 39 million people in California, and the governor has predicted that about half (19.5 million) will be infected with coronavirus. About 18% of infections are Virus and infection, image illustrationasymptomatic (about 3,500,000 in this scenario). Since the death rate is calculated with symptomatic infections (predicted to be 16 million), the lowest death rate (1.4%) gives 224,000 deaths in Calif. if the governor’s prediction is accurate.


David H. Figurski, Ph.D – Molecular Biologist

Columbia University Professor Emeritus

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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Comments on: "New NEWS: . . . . . . . . . Exponential Spread of Coronavirus – Learn About It" (2)

  1. The CDC was not prepared for this. From what I understand, they were aware of it in November. That is their job and responsibility.
    While precautions certainly need to be implemented by all of us, to fuel panic and impending doom is irresponsible.


    • Judy,

      Thank you for your response.

      I completely agree that to “fuel panic and impending doom is irresponsible,” and that is exactly why folks need to become educated. Look for more educational posts from Dr. Figurski

      Please stay healthy and safe. 🙂

      donna o’donnell figurski
      Author of “Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver’s Tale”


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