Jon, the sad truth is, about 80% of the people who follow you on Medium are just trying to get you to following them back. They will never read your stories. It is a stupid “How to succeed on Medium” hack that people promote and follow, which only gives them big numbers of followers who never read their stories. It’s pointless. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop it. And you can’t delete “followers.” So the follower stat is pretty meaningless.
I have almost 700 followers and I am guessing probably 500 or more of them have never read or clapped for one of my stories (based on the people who have clapped.) The Read and Fans stats are the only stats that actually mean anything.