As we try to understand the risks and consequences of Covid-19, the phrase “flattening the curve” has been heard or said several times. To help understand this better, let’s consider the following analogy to our own households, and changes we have personally made to weather this storm: groceries.
No one wants to run out of something important to get through the day, especially since options for replacing it might be challenging (store is closed or out of stock, manufacturing process is long which affects supply at any given time, etc.). The natural response is to spread out the time between periods that you will need to replenish those very important items, so that when you absolutely do, there is a better chance it will be there for you. This is bread, this is milk, and yes, this is toilet paper too. We closely monitor our cupboards and linen closets and try not to use too much of one thing too soon, so that we don’t have to go out and buy it again, only to find out there are none available right now.
That’s EXACTLY the same concept at play while we attempt to flatten the curve: slow down the rate of infection of Covid-19 so that all the supplies necessary to address the disease in a hospitalized patient (including ventilators) are available for everyone that needs them. To keep the “pantry” of our health system stocked and ready to take care of everyone over time.
This video explains the risk to the health system and human lives in the United States and provides an excellent explanation of why we all need to work to #flattenthecurve and practice #socialdistancing.