Mother Jones

LEARNING CURVES

The first version of the now-ubiquitous “flatten the curve” chart appeared in a 2007 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The image, titled “Goals of Community Mitigation,” accompanied a list of radical recommendations to swiftly change American life in the event of a pandemic: close schools, cancel public gatherings, recommend voluntary isolation. The authors used a now-familiar term for the strategy: “social

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