The Exchange

Commentary and Observations from
the Medical Front Lines

COVID-19 and the Curve

COVID-19 and the Curve

As of the writing of this post, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been confirmed in 174,467 Americans and over half a million people worldwide. Globally, a total of 174,115 have fully recovered and hopefully there will be more recoveries to come. In the US alone, which has now surpassed every other country with the number of cases, there are 3,416 confirmed deaths with nearly 6,000 recovered patients. These are unprecedented times, and the number of patients continues to climb. Perhaps this increase is due to our increased awareness of the virus and because we have more testing capabilities than only a couple of weeks ago.

What is alarming to the medical communityand to all of us physician assistants and nurse practitionersis the climb of the illness curve, which is our way of understanding the course of this rapidly spreading disease. Large cities have all but shut down, and several states have canceled K through 12 schools for the rest of the school year, hoping to stop the spread and protect those who are vulnerable. A key to continue flattening the illness curve will be education by the government, media, and all practitioners. By having our patients properly educated on the importance of staying out of contact with others, working from home instead of traveling and exposing others, and keeping their children away from other kids, hopefully we will slow the transmission of the virus and stop the curve from becoming steeper.

The next steps of virus control will be determined by how well the preventive measures work. Ideally, by continuing to socially distance, working towards the development of a vaccine, and treating those who have tested positive and have significant symptoms, we can flatten the curve.

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Filed under: Health Policy and Trends, Infectious Diseases, Public Health

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