It will probably end up being the case that no category of illustration in human history has saved more lives than those showing the need to “flatten the curve.”You’re almost certainly familiar with the term by now, weeks after a new strain of coronavirus escaped containment and began infecting thousands of Americans. The thrust is that slowing the rate at which the virus spreads will similarly slow the number of people needing to go to the hospital — and, therefore, give doctors more space to treat not only those with covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, but to treat everything else, as well.The illustration generally looks something like this. An uncontrolled spread of the virus (red) could see a rapid surge in demand for hospital facilities. A slower spread (yellow) offers a better chance to care for all of the patients coming into the system. Push down the peak number of cases and stay below capacity.It makes sense in the abstract. In reality, though, it depends on a number of factors, including:How many people end up getting sick (the area of the curves above).How quickly they get sick (the slope of the curves).The actual capacity of the hospitals.Changes in

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