April 03, 2020
A large number of people contracting the virus all at once looks a lot different than if those same people contract the virus over many months. If the number of infections rises too sharply, health care utilization will exceed hospital capacity for beds, ventilators, workers and other resources — and not just for COVID-19 cases. All patients, whether they have a broken bone or a heart attack, would feel the effects of these shortages.
By staying apart from each other, individual people can reduce the all-at-once, exponential spread of COVID-19. If the rate of new infections can be slowed — "flattening the curve" — healthcare utilization may be prevented from exceeding hospital capacity, and everyone will have the best chance to get timely care.
If you can work remotely, you likely already are. Set a good foundation for the transition by exploring technology and software that makes telecommuting less frenzied.
If you can't telecommute, ensure you follow the CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, and that you stay home if you feel ill.
This is also a smart time to make the most of your health benefits. COVID-19 has the potential to affect everyone's health, both physical and mental. If your health plan offers arrangements for mental health telemedicine, take proactive steps to get the care you need.
Beyond that, the best thing you can do right now is to practice social distancing — and encourage your family, colleagues, friends and neighbors to do the same.