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Exponential Growth of COVID-19 Means Early Action Is Essential, Holy Cross Mathematician Explains

The Conversation
April 3rd, 2020 by 

Andrew Hwang, associate professor of mathematics. Photo by Tom Rettig
Andrew Hwang, associate professor of mathematics. Photo by Tom Rettig

You’ve probably been hearing the term “exponential growth” quite often in the news recently. In a piece for the Conversation, Andrew Hwang, associate professor of mathematics at the College of the Holy Cross breaks down what it means for the potential spread of the coronavirus.

Exponential growth, such as in a viral epidemic, starts deceptively slowly, then quickly balloons, according to Hwang. “Under these conditions, each eight-day delay in public health response translates into roughly 10 times as many cases and deaths as immediate action,” said Hwang.

This is why in an epidemic, early action saves lives. “By waiting until mid-March to act as a nation, the U.S. lost control over the starting value,” said Hwang.

To read the full article, go to TheConversation.com.

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