I can’t predict the future. It is just math. The Delta virus.


I can’t predict the future. It is just math.

Every year when I was a high school math teacher I was asked, “When am I ever going to use this?” My response to my students was, “I don’t know. I am not a fortune teller.” How was I to know that an understanding of Exponentials Growth for every one of my students might save their lives and the lives of their loved ones? How was I to know that there would be a pandemic in their lifetime? How was I to know that exponential growth would be on the news every day? How was I to know how exponential growth would rock this world?

Exponential growth is taught in math and science class because it is what happens when a cell divides. That is why it is so important to understand this at this time. Another way exponential growth can be used is in genealogy. Exponential growth is used to determine the number of direct ancestors you have. Here is an example, if you go back one generation you have two parents or 2 to the first power. If you go back two generations you have four direct relations, or 2 to the second power. If you wanted to go back five generations, it is 2 to the fifth power or 32 direct relations. Please keep reading because exponential growth can predict the future.

Last year the Alpha variant had the same pattern as looking back at your direct relations but going forward in time. An example of the spread of COVID is one person gave COVID to two people. Then those two people gave it to four more people. If this went on for about five weeks, it would be 2 to the fifth power or 32 people. Last year I held my breath and watched as the Alpha virus doubled within days. It was heartbreaking to see the exponential growth of the spread of the Alpha virus and then the deaths from COVID. The only thing that stopped the out-of-control spread of the Alpha virus was the vaccine.

It is now 2021 and we are not dealing with the Alpha virus that is 2 to some power. Now we have the Delta virus, and it is much more contagious. It is five to some power. When the Delta virus spreads, it does not spreadd to two people. One person with the Delta virus spreads the virus to five people. That means we have five to a power. One person gives the virus to five people. Those five people spread the virus to twenty-five people. It gets better, those twenty-five people give it to one hundred twenty-five people, and we are just to five to the third power. Five to the fourth power is 625 and five to the fifth power is 3,125 people that are sick with the infections.

What does this mean? Last year, one person with the Alpha virus spread the virus to about 32 people in about five weeks. This year a person with the Delta virus can spread the virus to about 3,125 people in about five weeks, or quicker. The good thing is that if you are vaccinated you will not get very sick. You are most likely not to end up in the hospital or dead. Those who are not vaccinated, sorry I can’t visit you in the hospital, but I can go to your funeral.

What have you learned? 1)The Delta virus is spreading so much faster than the Alpha virus of 2020. 2) People who are vaccinated will most likely not be hospitalized or die. 3) People who are NOT vaccinated will overwhelm our hospitals and many die. 4) The vaccine is working to save lives and to protect our hospitals and the people that work there. 5) This is the Summer of the Unvaccinated. 6) Pay attention in class. Your teacher is not a fortune teller, but you may need the knowledge of that borrowing lesson sometime in your lifetime. Finally, PLEASE get vaccinated. It could save your life. Mrs. C

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