Q: What is the curve, and why is it important?

A: Public health authorities often refer to something called “the curve” when discussing a community’s current level of infection for the new coronavirus.

But what exactly is “the curve,” and why is it important?

That term refers to a graphical representation of the number of people infected with the coronavirus over a period of time, said Brittany Burgess, Victoria County epidemiologist, in a written statement Saturday.

“The curve is what we, as epidemiologists and medical professionals, review to determine the frequency of cases over time,” Burgess said. “The more confirmed cases we experience, the higher the curve gets.”

“Flattening the curve” is important, she said, because doing so means having fewer people infected in the community within a period of time.

When many people are infected all at once, resources can become strained.

“We want to minimize the burden of the disease and decrease the threat of overburdening our healthcare systems,” Burgess said. “The term ‘flattening the curve’ is intended to reduce the frequency and spread of confirmed cases to ensure medical systems are not overwhelmed and lack resources available to treat COVID-19 confirmed patients and all others.”

And while the number of new cases of COVID-19 has mostly remained in the single digits each day, Burgess said residents should expect the rate at which new cases are reported to also increase.

“We have to consider exponential growth of a disease like a snowball effect – it just keeps growing if measures are not established to stop it,” she said. “One person with COVID-19 could expose three others, and those three could expose another three. The growth could continue if left unchecked.”

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached or 361-580-6515.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Your full name is required.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. And receive photos, videos of what you see.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages, or personal attacks.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.