What does flatten the curve mean?

It means to prevent overflooding the healthcare system by slowing the growth of infections.

Health authorities around the world have been unable to completely prevent COVID-19’s spread. If cases double every six days, then hospitals, and intensive care units (ICUs) in particular, will be quickly overwhelmed, leaving patients without the necessary care.

But the growth rate can be slowed by reducing the average number of cases that a single case gives rise to.

In doing so, the same number of people will probably be infected, and the epidemic will last longer, but the number of severe cases will be spread out. This means that if you plot a graph of the number of cases over time, the rising and falling curve is longer but its peak is lower. By “flattening the curve” in this way, ICUs will be less likely to run out of capacity.

Flatten The Curve - Explained

Flatten The Curve Explained
Managing anxiety about the coronavirus
The goal is to flatten the curve (green curve above), which means to reduce the daily rate of new cases so that the number of severe cases can be handled effectively by the healthcare system.

What does it mean to Flatten the Curve?

The coronavirus has pushed the Italy’s health care system to its brink. This is what the US will now attempt to avoid by trying to slow the spread over a manageable time. Infectious disease experts call it "flattening the curve."

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