Flatten the Curve

Flatten the Curve

The ideal goal in fighting an epidemic or pandemic is to completely halt the spread. But merely slowing it — mitigation — is critical. This reduces the number of cases that are active at any given time, which in turn gives doctors, hospitals, police, schools and vaccine-manufacturers time to prepare and respond, without becoming overwhelmed. Lisa McHugh, the program coordinator of infectious disease epidemiology at the state Department of Health, said with social distancing and other mitigation activities, “you try to bring the peak down, have it come out over several weeks rather than having it over a shorter two or three week time frame.”
Most hospitals can function with 10 percent reduction in staff, but not with half their people out at once. Some commentators have argued for getting the outbreak over with quickly. That is a recipe for panic, unnecessary suffering and death. Slowing and spreading out the tidal wave of cases will save lives. Why does "flattening the curve" matter? Flattening the curve keeps society going.

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Last modified on 03/20/2020

Published in COVID-19


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