We Need To Crush The Curve Now—Or COVID-19 Will Come Back To Haunt Us

In a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, communities across the United States have taken action to “flatten the curve.” The curve in question represents the number of people predicted to contract the novel coronavirus over time, while attempts to flatten it have so far included various forms of social distancing, self-isolating, and frequent handwashing.

As critical as these actions are, they’re still not enough—not nearly. Flattening the curve may lessen the burden of care for hospitals and healthcare workers, but it won’t necessarily decrease the number of people who fall ill. If we don’t act now to crush the curve completely, subsequent waves of reinfection will continue to haunt us long after the current pandemic has cleared out—each smaller in scope, maybe, but not without significant aftershocks to our health, our economy, and our psyches. 

To put a definitive end to this pandemic, the United States must follow the lead of countries like New Zealand and pivot from a containment strategy to an elimination strategy; to not just flatten the curve, but crush it. Deployed swiftly, aggressively, and in conjunction, the following three countermeasures may give us the momentum we need to reduce the total number of cases, shorten the length of the pandemic, and allow economic activity to resume.

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Originally published on Forbes (April 15, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.