Flattening the curve is absolutely essential in containing the global COVID-19 pandemic
The ‘curve’ defines the number of people who have contracted COVID-19 over a period of time.
The curve takes on different shapes, depending on the coronavirus infection rate. A steep curve indicates an aggressive spread of the virus, with a flattened curve indicating a slower infection rate. Infection curves with a steep rise will likely also have a steep fall as once the virus infects everyone who can be infected, case numbers begin to drop quickly too. However, the faster the infection curve rises, the quicker health care systems will be overloaded beyond its capacity to treat people. This increases the likelihood of fatalities.
Why is flattening the curve so important?
A flatter curve assumes the same number of people ultimately get infected, but over a longer period of time. This reduces the burden on local health care systems and ensures there is capacity to assist those in need of treatment.
How can you help to flatten the curve?
- covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- disposing of tissues properly
- washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
- if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people
- cleaning and sanitising frequently used objects such as mobiles, keys and wallets
So, is Australia flattening the COVID-19 curve and how does it compare with other countries? This interactive chart compares the trajectory of global confirmed cases. Optimised for desktop.