CHICAGO (CBS) — When it comes to COVID-19, top experts say we might not be able to stop the spread, but we can slow it down.

The drastic measures everyone’s talking about, like canceling parades, large events and conventions, is all about “flattening the curve” for the world’s newest pandemic, experts say. That is, reducing the likelihood that a fast-moving virus moves even faster through crowds of people.

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The nation’s leading expert in infectious diseases said today that at this point, there’s no stopping the novel coronavirus here.

“I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the national institute of allergy and infectious disease.

But there is a chance to slow it down.

Microbiologist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles teamed up with a cartoonist to make an animation that shows the epidemic curve–the relationship between time and case numbers.

‘What you don’t want for the number of cases to rise so fast that it basically overwhelms health systems and your ability to treat people,” Wiles said.

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In short, a sharp spike in a short time is bad for hospitals. Simple measures like hyper-awareness of hand washing and “social distancing” can help by slowing it down.

Dr. Howard Ehrman, an infectious disease expert, said: “We have no idea what part of the bell curve we’re on in the U.S, because we’ve only done about six or seven thousands tests total.”

Asymptomatic transmission and cases with mild symptoms paired with a lack of testing kits make an accurate prediction impossible, he says

‘We don’t know how widespread community spread is,” he said.

“It’s much easier if we all do our part in helping to stop the spread than having to build new hospitals,” Wiles said.

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