i-D is calling on you to stay indoors and flatten the curve

We can soften the blow of this pandemic, but only if we take action now.

by Douglas Greenwood
16 March 2020, 12:23pm

There is a terrifying graph on The Washington Post's website that showcases the dramatic spike in the USA’s Coronavirus infections, from one on 22 January to over 2000 barely six weeks later. It’s what experts refer to as an ‘exponential curve’; a spike so violent that the country’s hospitals will struggle to keep on top of it. The number of cases tend to double every three days. By that logic, the USA alone will be looking at 100 million COVID-19 infections by May. “That’s math,” Post journalist Harry Stevens says, “not prophecy.”

Though the news cycle and social media may lead you to believe that we are hurtling towards a dire few months in human history, it doesn’t need to be that way. The way COVID-19 spreads is hindered by social distancing. This isn’t, FYI, locking yourself indoors, quarantining and talking to outsiders through sheets of protective plastic. It’s leaving the house only when necessary, and cancelling all of those other plans you were super excited about -- nights out, dinners with friends, concerts -- because right now those things can wait. Also, house parties? Nice idea but don’t do it. A bunch of bodies in a confined space is the exact thing we don’t need right now.

We understand the huge financial burden this may have on the hospitality and entertainment industry, which is why we suggest buying gift certificates and vouchers as a way to support your favourite hang-outs from behind closed doors. That way, you can keep these businesses tiding over in a moment of uncertainty while reaping the benefits when the worst of this blows over.

Staying inside for a prolonged period of time might be something that takes a knock on your mental health (trust us, we know), so it’s important that we stay social digitally; call friends often, be active in the group chat -- but maybe stay off social media for a bit. It’s where hysteria breeds, and being exposed to it with no escape can be frustrating at the best of times.

COVID-19 is so dangerous both because of how contagious it is, and how those who are infected can infect others without having to display symptoms at the time. Those can take anywhere from five to seven days to appear, and even if they’re fairly mild for one person, that could still lead to severe health complications, if not worse, for an elderly or immunocompromised person who crosses your path.

These are the people that need to occupy beds in intensive care units, but in the UK right now -- as is the same for many places around the world -- we’re not equipped to handle an exponential curve like the one discussed above. We’re walking around blind to the impact our own bodies can have on others. To help this virus pass with as little physical and financial damage as possible, health experts are saying that self-isolation is absolutely imperative. No quick trips around a museum to break up your day, or a pint or two with a mate in the pub. Call them instead. Watch that series you’ve been meaning to catch up on for months now. Heck, maybe even try and write a fucking masterpiece like Shakespeare did during the plague. Whatever you’re planning, please stay indoors unless it is absolutely necessary. People’s lives depend on it.

social distancing
flatten the curve