In an outbreak the number of confirmed cases is important but the rate at which the number of cases is increasing over time is also important. This information is plotted into a graph called an epidemic curve. The horizontal axis is the time cases are confirmed and the vertical axis is the number of confirmed cases. The epidemic curves of outbreaks typically go in big peaks and then come down. Preventative measures can “flatten the curve”.
Understanding the Curve
Actions we can all take to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash all surfaces while you sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Why? Washing your hands removes and kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Practice coughing/sneezing etiquette. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Why? Your hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus that could contaminate a surface.