New York (The Verge) — Canceling events early can help keep an outbreak from getting worse theverge.com/2020/3/9/21171….
Implementing social distancing policies early can help flatten the curve, which prevents a sudden surge of sick people at hospitals. During past epidemics, fewer people died in cities that canceled gatherings.
There still may be high numbers of cases — and even deaths — in places that put early social distancing policies in place during an epidemic. Crucially, though, those cases are spread out over a longer period of time. Epidemiologists refer to it as flattening the curve. That prevents a sudden surge in the number of sick people, which can quickly overwhelm hospitals and the health care system. A flattened curve means there aren’t as many people sick at once, so they can be cared for and discharged. The outbreak may go on for longer, but the impacts wouldn’t be as severe.
Recommendations in place in the US range from canceling events to asking the elderly, who are at risk of having severe illness from the new virus, to avoid traveling unless it’s necessary. Some school districts shut down, and some universities moved their classes online. Many companies are asking their employees to work from home. — Nicole Wetsman/@verge