COVID-19 is a completely unprecedented event, and society is quickly trying to slow its spread and protect our most vulnerable populations. The steps that Governor Hogan and the federal government are taking seem extreme, but they have a real purpose and could be the difference between hundreds of deaths and thousands.
What is Flattening the Curve?
There are two different outcomes to growth rate of COVID-19 infections. The first is a steep exponential curve. In this instance, this curve is unchecked by any mitigation measures, such as social distancing. The number of cases rise dramatically as the virus spreads throughout the community and falls dramatically once everyone is infected. This curve overwhelms the health care system and forces health care providers to decide which patients to treat because there is not enough medical equipment to treat everyone. This is currently happening in Italy.
The second curve is flatter because it has a slower growth rate. The flatter curve assumes that the same number of people will likely be infected over time, but the rate of infection will be checked by social distancing and proper medical care. In this case, the health care system does not become overwhelmed.
With their actions, Governor Hogan and other leaders across the nation are, in the most extreme ways, trying to flatten the curve by limiting social interactions in ways that will have severe impacts on our society, but will save lives.
What Can I do to Flatten the Curve?
- Stay home as much as possible. If you need to go to the grocery store or pharmacy, do so.
- Try to use delivery service, you can get just about anything delivered right to your door. Online shopping is a great way to help the economy. Continue to order food from your local restaurants if possible.
- Find activities that are safe and relaxing. Walk in your neighborhood, play in your yard, plant a garden. Converse with your neighbors over the fence and from a safe distance. This is a great time to meet people we drive past every day.
- Please don’t hoard. This is a scary time, but the stores are restocking daily.