Review: Flattening the curve is not enough, we need to squash it. An explainer using a simple model

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Review: Flattening the curve is not enough, we need to squash it. An explainer using a simple model

Review: Flattening the curve is not enough, we need to squash it. An explainer using a simple model

This study used a simple compartmental deterministic model of COVID-19 transmission in Australia to illustrate the dynamics resulting from shifting or flattening the curve versus completely squashing it.

Around the world there are examples of both very good and effective control (e.g., South Korea, Japan) and slower, less aggressive control (e.g., Italy, Spain, United States) of COVID-19 with dramatic differences in the consequent epidemic curves.

Models agree that flattening the curve without controlling the epidemic completely is insufficient and will lead to an overwhelmed health service. A recent model, calibrated for the UK and US, demonstrated this starkly.

The authors of this study used a simple compartmental deterministic model of COVID-19 transmission in Australia to illustrate the dynamics resulting from shifting or flattening the curve versus completely squashing it.

They found that when the reproduction number is close to one, a small decrease in transmission leads to a large reduction in burden (i.e., cases, deaths and hospitalisations) but achieving this early in the epidemic through social distancing interventions also implies that the community will not reach herd immunity.

Australia needs not just to shift and flatten the curve but to squash it by getting the reproduction number below one. This will require Australia to achieve for transmission rates at least two thirds lower than those seen in the most severely affected countries.

|2020-04-03T13:35:01-04:00April 3rd, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Flattening the curve is not enough, we need to squash it. An explainer using a simple model

About the Author: Erika Cheng

Erika Cheng

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