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Flattening the Curve: Slowing the Coronavirus Outbreak

Self-quarantines and cancelled events help to “flatten the curve” of outbreak, or prevent a spike in cases.

#FlatteningTheCurve is trending today, but what does that mean? 

An infographic that shows the goals of mitigation during an outbreak with two curves. The X-axis represents the number of daily cases and they Y-axis represents the amount of time since the first case. The first curve represents the number of cases when no protective measures during an outbreak are implemented and displays a large peak. The second curve is much lower, representing a much smaller rise in the number of cases if protective measures are implemented.

“Flattening the curve” refers to this illustration from the CDC, via Vox. 

The curve shows the number of new cases daily. Without protective measures, like self-quarantines, working from home, and cancellations of large events, the outbreak will likely have a high peak, as shown in pink in the illustration above. This means a high number of daily cases, putting a strain on the healthcare system. 

Flattening the curve, by using those protective measures, means that the cases won’t have as big of a spike. Instead, social distancing and self-quarantines will slow the spread of the disease, which helps our healthcare systems not to get slammed by patients. 

The idea is that even if the US had the same total number of cases, they’d be less deadly overall by ensuring that our healthcare system is able to cope with the volume of patients throughout the outbreak. 

So, as you and your company think about these protective measures and social distancing, remember that it’s not just about keeping yourself and your employees healthy now, but also about flattening the curve for the sake of the larger community.

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