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WATCH: What does it mean to 'flatten the curve'?

Published Mar 22, 2020

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Durban - The Department of Health is encouraging residents to curb the spread of Covid-19 by taking part in the 'Flattening the Curve' campaign. 

The department said the “curve” refers to the projected number of people who will contract coronavirus over a period of time.

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A steep curve means an over-burdened health system. The curve takes on different shapes, depending on the virus’s infection rate. It could be a steep curve, in which the virus spreads aggressively. In this case, counts keep doubling at a consistent rate & the total number of cases skyrocket to peak within a few weeks.

"Infection curves with a steep rise also have a steep fall. After the virus infects pretty much everyone who can be infected, case numbers begin to drop quickly too. The faster the infection curve rises, the quicker health care system will get overloaded beyond its capacity to treat people. That’s why the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has said we must heed precautionary measures to #flattenthecurve," the department said.

A flatter curve assumes the same number of people ultimately get infected, but over a longer period of time. A slower infection rate means a less stressed health care system.

Six ways on how you can flatten the curve

- Stay at home. That means no visitors or visiting, playdates, movies, meals at restaurants or even coffee with friends.

- Pray at home.

- Only go out if its absolutely necessary.

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- Take all precautions while at home & while outside for any important work.

- Be a responsible citizen by following instructions & advice, & educate others about measures in place to contain the spread of the virus.

- Spread facts, not fear.

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Always remember: 

- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.

- Practice social distancing, and follow the social distancing guidelines.

- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.

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- Keep utensils and surfaces at home clean.

- Call your doctor or clinic if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 which could include a cough, a runny nose, or shortness of breath.

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