Tips for Covid-19: Why We Need to Flatten the Curve – and How

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.

Tips for Covid-19: Safely Disinfecting Your Home

We are still learning how long COVID-19 can survive on surfaces, and how far the virus travels in the air (current estimate: 6 feet or more). Whether you’re in isolation, self-quarantine, or practicing aggressive social distancing, reducing the risk of infection in your home is always good practice. In addition to frequent hand washing, use a disinfectant to clean surfaces that frequently come into contact with humans several times a day (be careful with electronics!). These include, but are not limited to:

– Countertops and cabinet handles
– Faucets, knobs and spigots
– Inside the car (dashboard, center console, car/booster seats, and buttons
– Dining tables
– Musical instruments
– Toilet seats
– Door handles
– Remote controls
– Cell phones, tablets, and similar devices
– Purses
– Washer and dryer

Do not just spray: spray and wipe each surface. Be sure to use disposable kitchen or hand towels to further reduce the spread of infection. Wash your hands when you’re finished.

Additionally, be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions when using chemicals and disinfectants. Make sure the space is well-ventilated so you can access fresh air, and refrain from mixing substances in an attempt to increase potency or effect. This Good Housekeeping article from 2019 provides some helpful tips for using disinfectants.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

In the wake of the Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic, SBRC will be posting several resources on our website; we also strongly recommend regular visits to reputable health websites such as, state and local health department websites and to keep informed as this situation evolves, and for tips on keeping yourself, your families and your employees safe. We have all hopefully received the advice to wash our hands thoroughly and often, and to practice social distancing.

Social distancing includes limiting – even eliminating where possible – congregating indoors, decreasing our exposure to places where the virus can be easily spread, and making thoughtful adjustments to social calendars and daily interactions to slow down the rate that this virus spreads. These are not always easy changes to implement, but they are very, VERY important to restoring public health and keeping our health system working.

We live in a global community more now than ever before, and while we look to our leaders to ensure that our response to this pandemic has global cooperation, we each can – and should – contribute to this effort locally by practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and patience.

Take care, and be well.

Fanta Waterman, PhD, MPH
Managing Director, Serrette Brown Research and Consulting, LLC

Post-doctoral Research Fellow and Grantee, 2013 – 2014
The National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research and Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks