What Does it Mean to Flatten The Curve?

#flattenthecurve, we’ve all seen it somewhere. Whether it was on an Instagram hashtag, or in the required reading for all 9-12 graders in MCPS schools, we know it’s out there; but what does it mean?


What curve?

The curve refers to the bell curve used to show the rate at which people are getting sic with covid-19, as depicted bellow.

On the right in red is what the bell curve will look like if we go about life as normal; on the left is what it looks like with a combination of protective measures. The dotted line in the middle is the max capacity of the United states healthcare system as it stands right now.

So why flatten?

We need to flatten the curve closer to the blue one on the left of the image so we don’t overwhelm the US healthcare system with thousands of cases of covid-19. The purpose isn’t to stop the rate of infection; it is an attempt to slow the spread of covid-19 to a manageable level for hospitals and clinics.

Okay I’m on board, how do I flatten the curve?

There are a few easy things you can do to aid in the effort to flatten the curve. The main ones have to do with this thing called social distancing. Social distancing is the act of limiting the people you come in physical contact with. Have one or two friends you hang out with regularly, but avoid contact with other people. The other ones have to do with personal protection, and environmental protection.

Do the basics, and don’t let fear override common sense. Stay safe and smart.

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