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Flatten the curve: Slowing the spread of coronavirus (KVUE)
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Coronavirus is spreading fast all over the world. Infected countries are beginning to take hard restrictive social measures to slow down the spread of the virus. Some people think it's all an overreaction, but is it?

Some of you may be wondering –Is this an overreaction?

In response to that, doctors say all these cancellations are a way to “flatten the curve”. That’s a term that’s often only used by public health officials. Now, this graph from the CDC is a good way to see what it means.

The tall red curve… that shows what could happen if communities don’t do enough to stop the spread. The short spike in cases passes this dotted line, which represents how many people hospitals can actually treat.

So you see, a faster spread means no room in hospitals to get care. But “flattening the curve” means communities do more to stop the spread by keeping people from gathering. And you see, the blue curve stays below the dotted line for a longer period of time. That means hospitals have the resources they need to help people.

So doctors say cancelling events, staying home from work and school, and practicing social distancing are all essential to make sure hospitals can actually deal with all the patients who need care.

OVERREACTION= A reaction which is excessive or exaggerated.

FLATTEN= Make flat, even. A straight line is 100% flat, a circle is 100% not flat. If you flatten a curve, you make it less sharp, more similar to a line.

CURVE= A line that goes up and then down (or to one side and then the other) with a smooth transition (see picture).

HEALTH OFFICIALS= Doctors and nurses, etc. working in the health system.

CDC= Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute of the United States.

THE SPREAD= (the spread of the virus). To spread is to extend. Talking about a virus or illness, it means that the virus travels from people to people infecting more and more of the population.

SPIKE= A long thick sharp-pointed object (the curve in this case).

DOTTED LINE= A line made up of dots, like this: .................

KEEPING PEOPLE FROM= If you keep people from something, you separate them from it, for example to protect them. If you keep people from DOING something, you stop people from doing it, so they can't do it.

GATHERING= To gather means to get together.

RESOURCES= Necessary things.

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