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A story in today’s Monitor about the rise in telemedicine (read it here) contains this sentence:

In the first month and a half of the pandemic, there was a 11,718% increase in the number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth.

I always stumble over more-than-100%-increase statements. I never know whether to include the original amount: if you go from 50 things to 100 things, is that a 100% increase or a 200% increase?

This one really threw me. At first It thought this mean there were (11,718 X 100 = 1.17 million) times as many cases, which would have implies that only 300 or so cases existed earlier, since the U.S. population is 320 million. But it’s actually (11,718 / 100 = 117) times as many, which is more reasonable.

Saying “117-fold increase” or “117 times as many” would probably have been better for a story like this. Percents can throw people off.

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