Our #FlattenTheCurve graphic is now up on @Wikipedia with proper attribution & a CC-BY-SA licence. Please share far & wide and translate it into any language you can! Details in the thread below. #Covid_19 #COVID2019 #COVID19 #coronavirus Thanks to @XTOTL & @TheSpinoffTV pic.twitter.com/BQop7yWu1Q
— Dr Siouxsie Wiles (@SiouxsieW) March 10, 2020
The threat of COVID-19 has become a global pandemic and there is a great rush to mitigate the number of infected people and slow the spread of this virus. Depending on where you live determines the intensity of the response. Italy, for instance, is under total shutdown for weeks, and the United States is canceling or postponing large events like the NCAA tournament and closing cultural institutions. If that sounds extreme, a chart known as “flatten the curve” can help you make sense of why these measures are vital in saving lives.
Essentially, epidemiologists want us to “flatten the curve” to prevent a huge spike in COVID-19 cases and overwhelm health care systems’ capacities—including ICU beds, ER visits, and healthcare workers themselves. “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. This idea was first illustrated in a graphic created by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adapted by population health and policy professor Drew Harris, and made popular by the Economist. It has since gone viral with the hashtag #FlattenTheCurve.
Social distancing is key in flattening the curve. Many U.S. cities, like Seattle, are employing measures of social distancing. People are supposed to work from home when possible and gatherings of over 250 people are banned for the time being. School districts and universities have moved to remote online learning. Libraries, community centers, and parks are closed until mid-April. While this is undoubtedly a disruption to everyday life, doing so slows the progress of the coronavirus and ensures that those who need urgent medical care will have it.
You can do your part by practicing social distancing. If you’re over the age of 60 or have a chronic health condition, you should avoid large groups as much as possible. And if you need to leave your home, keep at least six feet of distance from other people. If you’re younger and healthier but find that you feel ill, stay at home. Monitor yourself for the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath) and contact a medical professional if you have them.
To remain healthy, remember the three most important ways to keep from contracting COVID-19: the first is to wash your hands for 20 seconds, the second is to not touch your face (easier said than done), and the third is to disinfect your phone and other high-touch surfaces.
The idea of “flattening the curve” can help save lives during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Important to remember that #Covid-19 epidemic control measures may only delay cases, not prevent. However, this helps limit surge and gives hospitals time to prepare and manage. It's the difference between finding an ICU bed & ventilator or being treated in the parking lot tent. pic.twitter.com/VOyfBcLMus
— Drew Harris (@drewaharris) February 28, 2020
With social distancing, it will slow the progress of the coronavirus and ensure that those who need urgent medical care will have it.
Update to my #FlattenTheCurve animation with input from @VirusWhisperer for better phrasing. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/aqUpFHAaiy
— Alexander Radtke (@alxrdk) March 11, 2020
h/t: [Twisted Sifter, VOX]
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