COVID-19: why we need to flatten the curve

The measures introduced by the Government over the weekend may seem extreme, but they are necessary in order to try to prevent what has happened in Italy and China from occurring in New Zealand. Measures like these have been in place in Singapore and Taiwan for some time, and they have managed to successfully control the spread of the virus.

These measures will hurt our economy in the short term, but they are less harmful to us than if an uncontrollable outbreak of COVID-19 were to occur.

Flattening the curve means that we contain the spread of the virus in our population so that we do not get a huge surge in cases via spread in the community. If this were to occur it would completely overwhelm our health services. If all our hospital beds were taken up by patients fighting COVID-19 then we would not have the capacity to properly care for other patients, such as those suffering from cancer or those needing urgent surgery. As is evident from the graph above, flattening the curve does not mean that we will have no further cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, instead, the rate of spread of the illness is greatly reduced.

What can we do to flatten the curve?
-follow the government rules on self-isolation
-do not go to work or send your children to school if they have mild symptoms of a cough or sore throat
-regular hand washing with soap and water, and the use of hand sanitisers when not at home
-avoid touching your face
-sneeze or cough into your elbow
-avoid being around other people of you are sick, ie do not go to church, the cinema, sporting events, concerts, etc, even if you have mild symptoms
-if you are elderly or have a chronic illness, avoid large gatherings and if you need to get to the supermarket, for instance, then aim to go at quieter times, or use online shopping if possible
-avoid all unnecessary travel
-sign up to Flu Tracking at info.flutracking.net
-ring ahead to your GP practice if you wish to be seen about symptoms of a respiratory illness: DO NOT JUST TURN UP


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