Flattening the Curve, Social Distancing, and the New Coronavirus Vocabulary
Most have heard the term “flattening the curve” used as a goal related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s use “FTC” as a new acronym for flattening the curve.
FTC does NOT mean it’s a strategy to stop COVID-19. It means it’s a strategy to slow down and spread the infections over a longer period of time.
How does FTC work?
You might wonder, “If the same number of people are going to get sick, then why does it matter how fast or slow it moves?”
FTC is about managing the capacity in the healthcare system to treat individuals with severe symptoms and complications.
Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19. Treatment means we are treating the symptoms. For the most severe cases, it means an intensive care unit (ICU) bed and potentially access to a respirator. Too many cases at one time means the healthcare system doesn’t have enough capacity in services like ICU beds and respirators. Too much disease too fast means people could die because of an overburdened healthcare system. FTC spreads out the infections over time to create less of a spike in demand meaning a higher percentage of patients can be treated successfully.
Social distancing is a term that likely would have been associated only with extreme introverts prior to the pandemic. We now view social distancing as a medical term.
Social distancing includes hygiene-related actions, such as no longer shaking hands, avoiding large crowds of people, and self-quarantining if you exhibit symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has contracted COVID-19.
These behaviors will not stop COVID-19. However, they are vitally important because they will slow the spread and flatten the curve. Social distancing is inextricably linked to flattening the curve. Employers play an important role in supporting social distancing.
Holmes Murphy’s Approach
I am defining Holmes Murphy’s approach to COVID-19 as “embracing customers while social distancing.”
We fully support the government and community efforts to slow the spread of the disease. We are limiting non-essential travel, have cancelled an all-employee gathering, and are evaluating work from home and tiered scheduled strategies (if risk determines this is necessary).
What we will NOT do is indiscriminately shut down offices (unless an imminent risk indicates we must) or abandon customers in this time when they need us most. We are set up in a way that even if an office closure is deemed necessary, we will always be available.
Insurance is about protection in times of unexpected events and circumstances. COVID-19 has clearly created one of these unexpected times. We are made for this, and we will be here to help you, our customers, navigate the insurance and risk questions and actions so that you, your employees and families, and our communities can bounce back to normal as efficiently as possible.
Our goal is to continually keep you informed. As part of this, we have created a COVID-19 Resource Center on our website. We will be updating this daily and encourage you to check it out. You can also reach out to our staff should you have any questions at any time!
Published on: 03.13.20