This quick video from ABC News (posted March 10th) explains why officials are banning crowds, closing schools, and encouraging anything to avoid a lot of human contact. It’s called “flatten the curve”.
At this point, it appears that a majority of the population will contract the virus. By slowing down the rate of new cases, we can flatten the infection bell curve, preventing the heath care system from being overwhelmed. A certain percentage of all new infections are going to require intense medical care. By reducing the total number of cases at any one time, we better ensure that we’ll have the capacity to care for serious cases.
Yes, flattening the curve means we will have to deal with this virus for a longer time. But it helps ensure that everyone who needs serious medical intervention will be able to get it.