Nothing is more important right now for everyone in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic than working to “flatten the curve.” We must all do our best to keep from getting sick so we don’t make other people sick.
That’s what flattening the curve is all about. It’s all about math, really. If we wind up with runaway pandemic, there is just going to be no way that our hospitals and medical professionals will be able to treat everyone who needs serious care.
That will lead to some tough decisions, like the ones being made in Italy right now. We don’t want to have to let our oldest and most vulnerable patients die in order to save younger, healthier people. But that could happen if we don’t flatten the curve.
And, there are some very simple steps you can take in order to help.
First and foremost, wash your hands! Wash them every time you come back into your home after work or shopping, before touching things in your home. And, wash them when you get to work or any other destination.
Second, if you have hand sanitizer use it! Sanitize your hands as often as you can, and especially when you get back in your car after making any stops.
Hand washing and sanitation alone could reduce the infection rate from the coronavirus by as much as 50 percent, experts are saying. Take stops to do so, not just for yourself but everyone around you.
Third, avoid gatherings of all kinds. This is all about limiting your potential exposure to the virus. The fewer people you come into contact with, the less likely you are to catch the virus.
Obviously, you can’t stop all public activity. People still need to go shopping and many of us simply can’t work from home. But, do what you can to reduce your public activity as much as possible.
Fourth, and finally, let every young person you know that they also need to do everything they can to flatten the curve. By all accounts, young people often do not experience any severe symptoms (sometimes none at all) from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The youngest among us must work hard to remain health, and to avoid contact with everyone they can should they become sick! Tell your kids and grandkids – WASH YOUR HANDS…OFTEN!
This pandemic is likely to be around for a long time. Eventually, as many as 50 to 75 percent of us could ultimately get it. What we want to avoid, however, is large numbers of people getting it at the same time.
Our health care system is simply not set up for that. The United States only has somewhere between 45,000 to 60,000 intensive care unit beds. Many of those beds, perhaps most of them, are already full of sick and injured people. We simply cannot put tens of thousands of more people in our ICUs because they have COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control was reporting that we have about 4,400 known cases of COVID-19 and 68 deaths. While those numbers may not look bad, the actual number of cases is likely much higher due to the low number of tests we have conducted. The U.S. had only conducted about 25,000 tests (about 1 for every 100 people in the country), while Italy has tested 134,000 people (one for every 2,100) and South Korea 274,000 (one for every 5,300). Italy currently has 28,000 confirmed cases, while South Korea has 8,300.
Flatten the curve! Do all you can to flatten the curve. The life of someone you know depends on it.