by Sarah JF Braley | March 13, 2020
A new hashtag has shown up on Twitter, #FlattenTheCurve, advocating that everyone follow public-health protocols to keep the COVID-19 pandemic from flooding hospitals and overtaxing the health system. This New York Times conversation with Drew Harris, a population health analyst at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, explains the concept best: "The ideal goal in fighting an epidemic or pandemic is to completely halt the spread. But merely slowing it -- mitigation -- is critical," Harris told the Times. "This reduces the number of cases that are active at any given time, which in turn gives doctors, hospitals, police, schools and vaccine-manufacturers time to prepare and respond, without becoming overwhelmed." He added: "Think of the health-care system capacity as a subway car that can only hold so many people at once. During rush hour, that capacity is not enough to handle the demand, so people must wait on the platform for their turn to ride." Hunker at home, go wash your hands and then read the rest of the article.