I Have a Question About “Flattening the Curve”

I’m puzzled by something. A few weeks ago, before we had adopted any social distancing measures, the COVID-19 models suggested that we’d hit a peak of 5,000+ deaths per day sometime in late April or early May. Then, in mid-March, we started adopting countermeasures. Famously, these countermeasures were supposed to “flatten the curve.”

As you can see, countermeasures were supposed to lower the peak number of deaths but push the peak outward. The total number of deaths would stay roughly the same.

But that isn’t what’s happened. The peak has been pulled forward and the total number of deaths has been cut by two-thirds or more. What’s going on here? What am I missing?

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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