Let's straighten out what it means to "Flatten the Curve" on COVID-19

The common goal in fighting COVID-19 is to get rid of the virus completely and quickly. However, slowing down the rate of infection is just as critical to saving lives.

It's called "flattening the curve," and the term has been used a lot in COVID-19 coverage lately. But what does it mean?

Whether you're treating victims of a car accident, a weather disaster, or in this case, a pandemic, having enough doctors, nurses and hospitals is key to how many people survive.

In the case of COVID-19, the transmission of the virus can happen so fast that it can overwhelm the testing facilities, healthcare workers and hospitals. This means not everyone can get in, or get quality treatment. This is what happened in China, Italy, and other countries, where the rapid spread outnumbered the available professionals to provide care. Hundreds if not thousands died, some waiting in hospital hallways for treatment.

I like to think of the last time I was waiting for a shuttle bus after a concert and wanted to get back to my car. Everyone has the same idea and tries to pack onto the shuttle Eventually, it's full and others have to wait. Some of those waiting are elderly, or expecting mothers or already sick individuals. But they have to wait anyway. There isn't enough room.

By calling off games, closing schools and working from home, you're helping to limit interaction with others and ultimately slow down the acceleration of cases, allowing the doctors and hospitals to respond effectively. You're helping to slow down the spread, or "flatten the curve."

The main difference between this new virus and the typical flu virus is many of us have had the flu at some point in our life and built immunity. Unfortunately, you don't have that luxury with COVID-19. Far more people are vulnerable and the risks are higher.

By doing nothing, we not only put ourselves at risk, but also overwhelm those that are trying to take care of the sick. If I were to be one of the unfortunate ones to catch it, I would want all the quality care I could get.

Let's straighten up, and help "flatten the curve."