Flattening the curve for COVID-19: What does it mean and how can you help?

March 12, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Michigan Medicine News

Cruises and flights canceled. Colleges and universities sending students home to watch lectures online. Public schools closing. Offices asking people to telecommute. Concerts, parades, festivals and sporting events postponed.

Is all of this really necessary for the coronavirus? Are public health officials overreacting to the threat posed by the virus that causes the disease COVID-19?

It’s absolutely necessary, because it’s worked in the past, says medical historian Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., a U-M expert who has studied the effects of similar responses to past epidemics.

“An outbreak anywhere can go everywhere,” he says. And right now, “We all need to pitch in to try to prevent cases both within ourselves and in our communities.”

It’s called “flattening the curve,” a term that public health officials use all the time but that many Americans just heard for the first time this week.

Learn more about flattening the curve and why it’s so important on the Michigan Health Blog.

RELATED STORIES