The Moving Curve: Episode 12

Hello and welcome to Episode 12 of The Moving Curve, a nightly 5-minute podcast around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. I’m Rukmini, a data journalist. Tonight I’m considering the question: what happens after you flatten the curve and how flat should it be?

The article I wrote earlier on projections is here: https://theprint.in/opinion/current-rate-india-30000-covid-19-deaths-may-no-hospital-bed-june-data/385386/

Flattening the curve: https://theconversation.com/how-to-flatten-the-curve-of-coronavirus-a-mathematician-explains-133514

The health ministry’s “containment strategy”: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/3ContainmentPlanforLargeOutbreaksofCOVID19Final.pdf

The reproduction number of a virus: https://sph.umich.edu/pursuit/2020posts/how-scientists-quantify-outbreaks.html

Ultimately, the government too accepts that waiting till there are no infected persons for it to be safe to go outside is unrealistic. The last line of that containment strategy document says this: “However, if the containment plan is not able to contain the outbreak and large numbers of cases start appearing, then a decision will need to be taken by State administration to abandon the containment plan and start on mitigation activities.”

We could look for a number that we accept as a threshold beyond which we can go back out again. Or we accept that we will not have enough data for a while, and we begin to plan for life along the flattened curve.

Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. Tomorrow — a new question.

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I am a data journalist based in Chennai, India.

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