How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart

“How Canceled Events and Self-Quarantines Save Lives, In One Chart” is a nonfiction article on Vox by Eliza Barclay and Dylan Scott. This article describes the current Covid-19 pandemic and how although it may not be able to be stopped, it is still worth engaging in self-isolation and self-quarantine in order to slow down the spread of the illness. “Epidemiologists call this strategy of preventing a huge spike in cases ‘flattening the curve,'” (Barclay, 1). Barclay and Scott present a graph which shows that the number of cases can be lowered and spread out over time through measures of social distancing. Flattening the curve is very important in a pandemic such as this one because healthcare systems only have so many beds and ventilators for patients who need them. If there’s a large influx in critical Covid-19 patients at a time which is also the peak of what the authors note is a “pretty bad flu season”, hospitals may not be able to provide for all the patients who need resources.

Eliza Barclay and Dylan Scott emphasize their point to enforce social distancing to flatten the curve by using numbers from other illness outbreaks and pandemics. This shows the author that we don’t really know how bad Covid-19 can get—it could be like a bad flu outbreak or it could wipe out a large part of the population like the Spanish flu. Barclay and Dylan Scott stress that it’s on us to follow social distancing measures in order to keep hospital beds available for people who need them. The authors also use accounts from experts in the field of epidemiology to give credit to their claims. For instance, they quote Tom Frieden saying “From a US standpoint, you want to prevent any place from becoming the next Wuhan. What that means is even if we’re not able to prevent widespread transmission, we want to prevent explosive transmission and anything that overwhelms the health care system,” (Barclay, 1).

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