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February 4, 2021
David W. Johnson
Blogs Dispatches

The Stark Difference Between Virus & Vaccine Math

It’s all in the numbers. The difference between virus and vaccine math is essential to understand the importance of public health measures in slowing disease spread and wait for herd immunity.

According to the “NY Times,” the 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on December 1st was 161, 247. The 7-day grew relentless upward and peaked at 259,564 on January 8th. Since then, it has since declined precipitously to yesterday’s figure of 136,442.

These figures illustrate how viral growth and decline is exponential. 2 goes to 4 goes to 8 goes to 16 and so on. This is logarithmic multiplication (or power laws) in action, and it’s difficult for linear thinkers to get their heads around. Importantly, viral infections go down as fast as they go up. That’s logarithmic division in action.

Vaccine math is much easier. It’s simple arithmetic.  1 goes to 2 goes to 3 goes to 4 and so on. The U.S. administered its first COVID-19 vaccine on December 14th to critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay in New York City. As of yesterday, 27.2 million Americans have received their first vaccine dose. Total vaccinated Americans push upward one at a time. There is no subtraction, but we still have a long way to go.

The difference between virus and vaccine math clarifies the importance of public health measures in slowing disease spread now. Mathematically speaking, mask-wearing, handwashing, social distancing and lockdowns keep COVID-19 in check while the plodding arithmetic of vaccine administration catches up.

Read all dispatches from Dave Johnson here

About the Author

David W. Johnson

David Johnson is the CEO of 4sight Health, an advisory company working at the intersection of healthcare strategy, economics, innovation. Johnson is a healthcare thought leader, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to organizations busting the status-quo to reform our healthcare system. He is the author of Market vs. Medicine: America’s Epic Fight for Better, Affordable Healthcare, and his second book, The Customer Revolution in Healthcare: Delivering Kinder, Smarter, Affordable Care for All (McGraw-Hill 2019). As a speaker, Dave plays the role of rebel, challenger, industry historian, investor and company evaluator to push audiences forward. (Watch bio video.) Johnson applies his 25+ years of investment banking in healthcare to identify ways the healthcare industry must change to deliver better care. He received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, an English degree from Colgate University, and served in the African Peace Corp service. Join over 10k+ healthcare executives who read our weekly insights and commentary on www.4sighthealth.com. His third book, Less Healthcare, More Health: The Prescription for a Happier, More Equitable and Productive America, will publish in 2024.

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