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“Flattening the Curve” explained


Flattening the curve.  It’s a term we’re hearing a lot these days, but what is it really, and why is it important in the fight against COVID-19?   According to Southern Seven Health Department, flattening the curve simply refers to using protective practices to slow the rate of COVID-19 infection so hospitals have beds, supplies and medical staff for all of the patients who need care.

The concept comes into play when a large number of people become very sick over the course of a few days, which can overwhelm a hospital or care facility.  Too many people becoming severely ill with COVID-19 at roughly the same time could result in a shortage of hospital beds, equipment or doctors.

On a graph, a sudden surge in patients over a short time could be represented as a tall, narrow curve.  Ideally, if that same large number of patients arrived at the hospital at a slower rate, for example, over the course of several weeks, the line of the graph would look like a longer, flatter curve.

In this situation, fewer patients would arrive at the hospital each day.  This would allow hospitals to be better prepared to keep up with adequate supplies, beds and health care providers to care for them.  Hence, fewer shortages.

So what can you do to flatten the curve?  Continue to follow the preventative guidelines from the CDC that include making everyone aware of hand washing for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, protect others from coughs and sneezes, practice social distancing of 6 feet and self-quarantining and isolation for at least 14 days if you feel sick.

The pandemic can seem overwhelming, but in truth, every person can help slow down the spread of COVID-19.  By doing your part, you can make a big difference to your health, and that of others around you.  For more information visit or call Southern Seven Health Department at 618-634-2297.

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