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Flattening the curve: How to reduce the pandemic’s impact

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Flattening the curve: How to reduce the pandemic’s impact

Samah Akhtar

The scale at which the coronavirus will spread in different countries and how big it will get is uncertain.

27,980 cases have been confirmed in Italy, which makes it the largest outbreak outside China. After an initial peak in cases in South Korea, the spread has slowly decreased with a count of more than 8,320 cases and 81 deaths. The total number of cases in Iran stands at 16,196 with more than 899 dead. Infectious disease epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch at Harvard, told Vox, it’s “plausible” that 20 to 60 percent of adults will be infected with Covid-19 disease in the United States.

While panic remains high, it is important to note that 80% of cases worldwide at mild and the fatality rate is 1%. However, the concerns remain that health care systems are unprepared to deal with an exponential rise in the number of cases. A shortage of hospital beds and ventilators will result in more deaths. 

How does ‘Flattening the curve’ work?

Illustration: Propergaanda

But there is one way to flatten the curve and that is through preventive and protective measure such as closure of schools, cancelling and avoiding mass gatherings, encouraging employees to work from home and self-isolation. Measures like this can help put a dent in the spread of the virus, which will eventually lower the burden on hospitals and health care personnel. 

Social distancing and have a huge impact on the spread of the coronavirus, and is now actively being practised in Italy and South Korea. Two groups of people are most vulnerable to this virus and those are individuals over 60 years of age and those who have chronic medical conditions. The CDC has advised these two at risk groups to “avoid crowds as much as possible.”

What does ‘Flattening the curve’ mean?

“With sars-cov-2 now spread around the world, the aim of public-health policy, whether at the city, national or global scale, is to flatten the curve, spreading the infections out over time,” states a brief by The Economist. 

The statement was paired with a diagram, by the visual-data journalist Rosamund Pearce based on a graphic that had appeared in a C.D.C. paper, which has now been adapted by many publications and gone viral on social media. As WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, #flattenthecurve trended on Twitter. 

What are experts saying about this?

“What we need to do is flatten that down,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the White House during the coronavirus task force briefing. “You do that with trying to interfere with the natural flow of the outbreak.”

“Even if you don’t reduce total cases, slowing down the rate of an epidemic can be critical,” tweeted Carl Bergstrom, a biologist at the University of Washington.

Read more from ProperGaanda: Canadian PM Trudeau and His Wife Sophie in Self-Isolation As They Await Coronavirus Test Results


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