Analyzing the COVID-19 Curve 

Flattening the coronavirus curve saves lives and gives medical officials time to react.

This+graphic+shows+the+infection+curve+with+%28blue%29+and+without+%28green%29+intervention+measures.+The+blue+curve+is+the+ideal+method+to+treat+the+coronavirus+because+it+avoids+overwhelming+the+hospital+system+and+offers+officials+more+time+to+combat+the+virus.+

Illustration courtesy of NPR.org

This graphic shows the infection curve with (blue) and without (green) intervention measures. The blue curve is the ideal method to treat the coronavirus because it avoids overwhelming the hospital system and offers officials more time to combat the virus.

Aditi Mangal, Staff Writer

It is remarkable to realize that the entire world changed in 2020. 

Due to the circumstances with the particularly lethal strain of COVID-19, the term “coronavirus” has now become a name most people throughout the world hear multiple times each day. This virus has spread so quickly and posed such threats, that the name COVID-19 has become ingrained into each person’s head, especially so with our Spring Ford students and teachers.

There have been multiple security measures taken at all state, national, and global levels sharing a common goal: to flatten the epidemiological curve associated with the illness. An epidemiological curve is a statistical chart used to highlight the course of a disease. It displays the disease’s magnitude as well as general trend over time. 

Now, given the relativity and information about this strain of virus, the common goal of most organizations as well as national leaders involves confining people to stay inside the security of their homes. Particularly, many states in the U.S., as well as international countries, have implemented rules such as curfews to prevent citizens from interacting with others. It is believed that this act of quarantining people will help battle the easy spread of the virus. 

Serious measures to implement social distancing are being taken, as restaurants and small businesses have been closed. At this point, some states have joined Pennsylvania in declaring schools closed for the entire academic year as well.

All of these actions are done with one main goal: to flatten the curve. 

Flattening the curve means less people will be affected, and thus less killed during the coronavirus pandemic. There is a downside to this, however, as the time since the first case will increase, “indicating a more gradual rate of infection over a longer period of time,” according to the New York Times. The gentler curve results in fewer people infected at this critical moment in time — preventing a surge that would overwhelm the healthcare system. 

“What we need to do is flatten that down,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during the coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in early March.

 The ideal goal in fighting a pandemic is to slow down the spread. This reduces the number of cases that are present at a certain point of time, giving doctors, hospitals, police, schools and vaccine-manufacturers sufficient time to prepare and respond, without becoming overwhelmed. Most hospitals can function with 10% reduction in staff, but not with only half left. An opposing viewpoint may suggest getting over the outbreak quickly. However, that merely brings panic, unnecessary suffering and death. 

Slowing and flattening out the curve will save lives.

The number of new cases over time are a key part of the curve. The height of the curve increases as more people report the virus on a given day; a high curve means the virus is spreading fast. A low curve displays that the virus is spreading slower as fewer people are reporting per day. Keeping the curve down,and reducing the rate at which new cases occur, prevents overuse of resources available to treat it.