The spread rate is more important than the number of cases
On March 10, a group of experts met at the University of California, San Francisco, to assess the Covid-19 threat. The conclusions were sad: containment measures are unlikely to be more effective in many countries.
The only option is to “flatten the curve” or slow down the rate of spread so that healthcare systems aren’t overloaded. Otherwise, many countries will have more patients than the available test kits, hospital beds and intensive care units. Doctors and nurses run the greatest risk of contracting the virus unless the spread rate is controlled.
Flattening the curve will also save time for researchers to develop a vaccine.
Read also: Which countries are fighting Covid-19 better than others?
What the “doubling time” says about disease management
The doubling time, in the context of the coronavirus, is the time needed to double the number of cases. It gives an idea of how quickly the infection is spreading.
A longer doubling period means more time to test and treat people with the limited resources available. Many countries have managed to flatten their curves. China, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong have increased their doubling times to a week or more, making the disease much easier to manage.
The flattening of the curve was achieved by blocking public spaces, closing schools, canceling conferences and sporting events and, on an individual level, washing hands with soap regularly and avoiding meetings, among other measures.
Source: Datawrapper, our world of data