Monday, March 16, 2020

"Cat"tenning the Curve

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

COVID-19 has introduced many of us to an idea which may be new to some--flattening the curve to slow the inexorable advance of COVID-19 cases. The idea is to lengthen the transmission time so that the health system can cope.

The perspective provided by epidemiologist Anne Marie Darling is a clever way to help in understanding what the concept means. There are two kinds of outbreaks, the "Alert Kitty" and the "Lazy Kitty."

If you look very carefully you will see the standard graph in the background

To the left, the perpendicular Y axis: # of cases

At the bottom, the horizontal X axis: time since first case

About one-third of the way up, a dashed horizontal line: health care system

The first somewhat narrow and tall curve starting at the left (Lazy Kitty): without protective measures

The second considerably flatter and wider curve to the right of the first curve (Alert Kitty): with protective measures

Here you will find a STAT article by Helen Branswell, "Why 'flattening the curve' may be the world's best bet to slow the coronavirus."  It has a clear "Flattening the Curve" active display.

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