Slowing Pace Of Virus Spread Should Make Care More Manageable

“We’re gonna get a lot of ‘rain’ either way. But you don’t want that rain coming all in one hour,” says Dr. James Hamblin.

By Kristen CabreraMarch 16, 2020 11:38 am,

The spread of COVID-19 is having an immense effect on public and private life.

James Hamblin, a physician and staff writer for The Atlantic, says the reason the new coronavirus is so dangerous is because it spreads easily. Plus, for most people, it only causes mild disease.

“Here, you have a breakdown that is extremely dangerous – that is the sort of worst-case scenario that outbreak experts have modeled,” Hamblin says.

When people don’t take that threat seriously, it puts more vulnerable people at risk.

Most spread of COVID-19 is among families, Hamblin says. In some countries, where the disease has already spread widely, they’ve taken drastic measures to slow down that spread.

“The most successful countries have provided isolation facilities where you can go and ride out the disease, and get some minor medical care and some food and medicine,” Hamblin says.

The United States doesn’t have that yet.

Added to that is wrong information from the U.S. government. In a tweet last week, President Donald Trump compared COVID-19 to the flu, and Hamblin says that’s a way of “downplaying” its risk. COVID-19 cause flu-like symptoms, he says, but the diseases aren’t the same.

“This is something new,” Hamblin says. “Just because the symptoms are, in some ways, similar, it’s not useful to compare it to something too familiar.”

Experts estimate that 40% to 70% of Americans could get COVID-19 over the next year or so. But Hamblin says slowing the spread now could make caring for all of those people more manageable.

“I liken it to sort of like a hurricane. … We have the ability to have it so it hits over a longer period of time. We’re gonna get a lot of ‘rain’ either way. But you don’t want that rain coming all in one hour,” Hamblin says. “Things are going to get worse before they get better.”


Written by Morgan Kuehler.