Flatten the curve: What does it mean?

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - We’ve heard the term time and time again. Health professionals are telling us that ‘flattening the curve’ is of utmost importance. But what does that mean?

Courtesy: Anchorage Health Department

Every state has a certain health care capacity line. That represents how many cases their health care system can handle.

“Most days, we work underneath that line,” said Alaska Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, during a press conference. “So we have car accidents, we have people with heart disease. We have people with respiratory symptoms.”

Health officials are concerned that an overwhelming amount of cases of COVID 19 could overwhelm the healthcare system to a point where people in need of intensive care may not be able to get the needed attention.

“When we get above the health care system’s ability to care for people, that’s when we start to see health care people get sick,” she said. “That's when we start to see hospitals collapse. That’s when we see hospitals not be able to treat you for your heart attack.”

In an attempt to 'flatten the curve' and the amount of stress on the healthcare system, officials are asking the public to follow CDC guidelines to keep themselves and others healthy.

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