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?

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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