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What is “Flattening the Curve” and Why Do College Students Need to Do Their Part?

In the time of the novel coronavirus, people may still wonder what is “flattening the curve” and why college students need to do their part. After all, most college students are young and healthy. The virus shouldn’t affect them as severely as it does some other groups. While this may be true, in theory, there truly are practical reasons for canceling in-person classes, restricting travel and canceling events. Social distancing, or keeping people apart in large numbers, helps to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease that is caused by the virus. This slowdown can have a tremendous impact on how successfully healthcare practitioners are able to treat patients who become ill. Read on to learn how students can help.

Related resource: 20 Best Online Schools for Education (Graduate)

What Is Flattening the Curve?

“Flattening the curve” is a common phrase among healthcare professionals and researchers, but much of the public was unaware of it until now. “The curve” on a graph is a representation that refers to the number of people who get sick at once. A tall curve represents a large number of individuals being affected in a short amount of time, while a flatter curve shows the spread of disease over a longer period. A flatter curve is better because it allows more people to receive care without overwhelming and depleting necessary healthcare resources in one large rush. Hospital emergency rooms are busy places in general. During a pandemic in which there is a rush of severely ill patients, there may not be enough staff and equipment to meet the demand.

How College Students Can Do Their Part

The Washington Post shares how everyone can do their part to flatten the curve through a concept known as “social distancing.” What this entails is keeping individuals physically far apart so that the virus, which is transmitted from person to person, doesn’t spread as rapidly. The recommended distance between individuals is six feet in order to keep them safe from encountering the virus. It is also recommended to limit the sizes of group gatherings. When there are a large number of people in one area, they tend to be closer together and germs can be passed more easily. A college campus is especially well-suited for rapid disease transmission. That’s because such a large concentration of individuals are all in one place, living amongst each other. Essentially, college students tend to do everything together. By shutting down campuses and employing distance learning, the spread of coronavirus can be slowed significantly.

Some Considerations

Sure, it’s disappointing to leave campus and begin virtual learning. Missing social events, big productions and everyday interactions with friends is going to lead to some negative emotions. However, the fact is that everyone is in this together. By working together to limit exposure and slow the spread of disease, life will be able to get back to normal much more quickly. That’s because healthcare professionals will be better able to handle the influx of patients. They will avoid getting sick, themselves. The virus will eventually run its course with fewer casualties.

Hopefully, this basic overview helps to answers some of the questions many may have had about coronavirus and the closing of schools nationwide. Knowing what is flattening the curve and why college students need to do their part is essential to controlling the spread of this disease and improving the lives of everyone.