Epidemiologist and assistant professor in CHER and the NAU Department of Health Sciences
In the wake of COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2) we have seen canceled events, people not wanting to be in large groups, and a lot of questions on WHY this is happening. These cancellations are all part of an extreme measure called “social distancing.” I wanted to give you all some information on why social distancing (paired with washing your hands and other preventive measures) is EXTREMELY important!
Note that this is not to scare you or incite panic in any way.
Epidemiology rule #1: Don’t panic! I wanted to equip you with some great information as our new generation of public health professionals.
Social distancing and the 1918 Spanish Flu
The below article is about the mitigation of the spread of the Spanish Flu in 1918 where, even though the virus could not be contained, public officials had a chance to slow the spread. The article compares Philadelphia’s slow response (the solid line below) to St. Louis’ quick response. I thought this was cool because we just talked about normal curves and kurtosis.
How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives
This next article gives more details on “flattening the curve” by cancelling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, and self-isolation for the reduction in the peak of an outbreak.
Other resources for COVID-19 information
The CDC website on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
A JAMA article on “New Insights on a Rapidly Changing Epidemic”: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762510
A NEJM article on clinical characteristics of COVID-19: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2002032
Up to date information on the spread of COVID-19: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=ee09f96136-briefing-dy-20200130&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-ee09f96136-44653105#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
For NAU news on the COVID-19, visit the coronavirus page.