We’ve all heard about the coronavirus (COVID-19) ‘curve’. You may have also heard that the ‘peak was last weekend, but what does all that mean?
If you’re talking about the total number of corona virus cases ‘flattening’ – as in no – or few- new cases, then the answer is globally, not yet. The graphs below show total number of coronavirus cases (and deaths) graphed over time. As you can see, as I’m writing this in late April 2020, there are over 2.8 Million confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses in the world with the numbers still rising. Some countries, like Germany, do seem to show a flattening of the curve (meaning that fewer and fewer cases are being diagnosed). In the United States – it is variable. COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Maryland (which is where I and the living room couch, I’m writing this from reside). Other states that had among the first confirmed COVID cases seem to be flattening a bit. Shout out and fingers crossed to my relatives in Washington State!
Source: COVID tracker on Bing/Johns Hopkins University.
If you’re talking about number of new cases each day, then the answer is yes, in many places. The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center has generated this handy chart showing the 5 day moving average of new cases for the 10 most affected countries. When a country has fewer new COVID-19 cases emerging on one day than it did on a previous day, that is a sign that the country is flattening the curve. China has not reported any significant increases in new cases since mid-February 2020. Countries like Germany and Netherlands do appear to be flattening their curves. France had a decrease, then a brief steep daily increase in new COVID-19 cases and is now seeing a daily decrease in new cases. The US is currently ‘see-sawing’ back and forth around 26,000 to just over 30,000 new cases per day. If you want to see more trends and more information about the spread of coronavirus, check out: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/
Source – Johns Hopkins University
So why is everyone talking about flattening the curve? Public Health experts in the US and across the globe are encouraging everyone to observe good hand hygiene, to wear masks and to practice “social distancing” to flatten the curve. The idea behind that is that a country’s health care system has fixed resources (capacity), so a slower rise in new cases, and thus a flatter curve, will help ensure that the demand for health care does not exceed its supply.
Carol’s thoughts: We will continue seeing new COVID-19 cases in the US over the next 2-4 weeks. However, if we all do our part and practice social distancing, I believe we will begin to see a decrease in new cases.
Sending you virtual hugs and warm thoughts (from my living room).