In the past several weeks, the COVID-19 crisis has escalated to a widespread global pandemic, with recorded cases rapidly increasing in Europe and the United States. All but essential workers are being encouraged to self-isolate and “flatten the curve.” Medi-Share’s Dr. Alesia Greene breaks down what it means to flatten the curve and the actions we should take to do our part.
The phases of a pandemic are now familiar to us all. News programs and social media over the past week have referred to “flattening of the curve.” Slowing the acceleration phase is key to minimizing the impact of this virus on our healthcare system, but also will help expedite the completion of this first wave of infection.
As we look to countries that are ahead of us in the timing on the curve, we can expect to reach the peak approximately four months from now (July – August 2020), depending on our success in complying with the recommended public health measures.
Public health measures have seen important changes in our day-to-day lives. Social distancing has become a known concept, and the aggressiveness of this public health strategy has continued to escalate as the President announced limitations of social gatherings to less than ten people and added further restrictions to international flights just this week. Limiting activities outside of the home to grocery shopping, work, and essential tasks should be our standard over the upcoming weeks.
Enhanced COVID-19 testing will be our measure for identifying where we are on the curve. As of now, most states continue to have limited testing available, and most of these through the state health departments. An increased volume of tests is expected over the next three weeks through commercial vendors, enabling testing to expand to doctor’s offices and non-hospital testing sites.
However, testing in the upcoming weeks is still about monitoring the population infection rate. Rates of infection will double rapidly as more and more testing is completed. Relaxation of public health measures should not be expected until we “reach the peak,” and new numbers of infections begin to decline.
With a US population of 330 million people, you can see we still need to be prudent in who we choose to test. The standard criteria for testing remain:
- Fever higher than 100.4
- Shortness of breath
- Close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, OR
- Recently traveled from an area with an ongoing spread of COVID-19
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Medi-Share