With diagnosed cases of coronavirus increasing exponentially as the days go by, we are seeing more and more countries across the world take further action by putting certain measures in place to keep their citizens safe, including cancelling large events and recommending social distancing as well as self-isolation. While 80% of the global cases of coronavirus have been considered mild, we have also seen very real situations that show just how dire and life-threatening this illness can be for others, which is why certain procedures and policies (some mandatory) have been put in place. Epidemiologists (those who study the incidence, distribution and control of diseases) call this strategy “flattening the curve.”

Some people compare this concept to being in rush hour traffic vs. light traffic. One situation is crowded and overwhelming, while the other is easier to navigate.

For example, when protective measures are in place, this allows the healthcare systems to stay below their capacity, and there’s also a reduction in the peak out the outbreak, resulting in a decrease of the daily number of coronavirus cases that are diagnosed; whereas when protective measures aren’t in place, the daily of number of diagnosed cases continues to rise and healthcare systems go beyond their capacity, making it much harder to test individuals for the virus in a timely manner, and in confirmed cases make it more difficult to treat – particularly where they require further in-hospital monitoring – which could ultimately be fatal. Therefore, if we all work together to help flatten the increase in numbers, healthcare facilities will have an easier time providing the best care to those who need it most.

The strategies that are being put in place aren’t the same for everyone and solely depend on the country/city you reside in, though many government officials are taking similar steps. In British Columbia, for example, and even though the risk of developing coronavirus here remains what health officials consider to be low, that risk still exists as it is all around us – and, as a result, it was recently announced that individuals travelling outside of Canada, including to the United States, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days following their return home. In addition, large events of over 250 people are also being cancelled (such as Vancouver’s Sun Run), and many workplaces in the Province are also working fervently to put plans in place that will allow their employees to work from home in the event that certain companies need to shut down their businesses as a result of possible exposure to coronavirus. While public schools have yet to be closed, this is something that is being closely monitored and could change, if necessary. Even at events that are below the threshold of 250 people, health officials say organizers should do their best to limit attendance numbers, remind those attending to stay at least an arm’s length separate from one another, and ensure that washroom facilities and hygiene products (such as soap, water and hand sanitizer) are on hand. When it comes to preventing this virus, good hygiene, such as handwashing, is a major factor in protecting yourself and those around you.

On an even larger, global scale, we have seen cancellations of various popular entertainment and sport events, such as the Coachella and SXSW festivals, postponements of major concert tours run by Live Nation, as well as season postponements from sports organizations including the NBA (basketball), NHL (hockey), MLS (soccer), and MLB (baseball), along with tennis tournaments, rugby, and more. All of this is being done as a way to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, as the more people are together – especially at larger events such as these – the higher the risk is that multiple individuals would fall ill.

While this phase of social distancing and isolation may cause some serious disruptions for some and may do so in more ways than one, it’s important to remember that it is for your own good, the good of others, and more importantly, it’s only temporary.