Flatten the curve!
That’s a phrase my PE teacher used to shout at me while I was exercising because he thought I was too “round”.
I found it strange that he chose to use such a formal phrase when he could have just said: “keep running, fatty!”.
I never thought I’d hear the phrase in my adult life, but with the alarming rise of Covid-19 infections and deaths, medical experts are urging authorities and citizens to band together to flatten the curve.
And if there’s any evidence that we need to start right now, it’s these videos.
Shortage of equipment
As the number of infections continues to rise in Malaysia, healthcare workers in the country are facing difficulties as supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are reportedly running low.
Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to illnesses.
According to MS News, some have had to resort to re-using their PPE or have gone without them entirely.
But some healthcare workers in Malaysia have come up with a temporary solution to this shortage; plastic bags and cling wrap.
M’sian Healthcare Workers Use Plastic Bag, Cling Wrap As PPE
In a video that has gone viral on Facebook, a few Malaysian healthcare workers can be seen putting plastic bags over their heads to protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus.
The video has garnered 35,000 likes and over 45,000 shares.
In the video, one worker can be seen cutting a hole in a plastic bag, before slipping it over her colleague’s head.
Another video shows one healthcare worker wrapping cling wrap around her colleague’s leg.
You might think this is ridiculous, kind of like using an A4 paper as a face mask, but these workers have no other options.
Supplies Have Run Out
According to doctors and nurses that spoke to Malay Mail, they have no choice but to resort to DIY gear because supplies at their hospitals have run out, but patients keep coming in.
“Each time we treat a patient or even carry out a test for Covid-19, we have to suit up, which in itself takes 30 minutes or more.
“We then dispose of the suits after that. We go through four or five suits each day. It is very tiring.”
“The most important thing is that it does not offer much protection, but we have no choice,” said one doctor from a government hospital in East Malaysia.”
These videos prove one thing; flattening the curve is not an option but a necessity.
Flattening the curve
You see, health officials have already predicted that Covid-19 will continue to affect many people all over the world in the coming weeks and months.
But it doesn’t have to happen all at once.
As the outbreak in Italy shows, the rate at which a population becomes infected makes all the difference in whether there are enough hospital beds (and doctors, and resources) to treat the sick.
According to LiveScience, this lack of resources contributes, in part, to the high Covid-19 death rate in Italy.
That’s why medical experts are urging us to flatten the curve.
But what does this mean?
The “curve” researchers are talking about refers to the projected number of people who will contract Covid-19 over a period of time.
This curve, however, can take different shapes, depending on the virus’s infection rate.
So, if we can slow down the rate of infection and flatten the curve, we will have fewer cases at a given time, which would place less of a burden on our healthcare system.
In this flattened curve, the same number of people ultimately get infected, but over a longer period of time.
That’s the reason why so many countries are implementing social distancing and lockdowns; because the number of infections would skyrocket otherwise and overwhelm the healthcare system.
Do your part
Flattening the curve isn’t solely the job of the government, dear reader. We have to do our part too.
Practise social distancing, work from home if you can, and see a doctor if you’re unwell.
Whether this pandemic accelerates or dies down depends on us. Let’s ensure that this outbreak doesn’t spiral out of our control.