“Trouble with the Curve” is a baseball movie starring Clint Eastwood as “Gus.” He is a pro baseball scout who is going blind. He cannot follow pro baseball prospects as in his younger days. All his fellow scouts are excited about a young, cocky player, Bo. The other scouts will trade anything to draft this player. Except Gus, who cannot see well, but can hear Bo hit the ball. He knows Bo cannot hit the curve ball. Gus hears what others cannot see.

We, as a society, are trying to hit (flatten) the epidemiologic curve for the coronavirus, the disease known as COVID-19. If you think COVID-19 is a cold or just a case of the flu, you are going to have trouble with the curve. If you think that social distancing is not for you because you are young, it is too much trouble, or for someone else, you are going to have trouble with the curve. The problem is that if you have trouble with the curve, we are all going to have trouble with the curve.

What does this mean for our community? If the curve is not flattened, we will have too many patients in too short a period of time. The number of patients needs to be spread out over as much time as we can find. Otherwise, our health care facilities (i.e. Sanford) will be overwhelmed with too many sick patients. They will not be able to take care of everybody and there will be needless deaths, as is happening in Italy. Sometimes you have to use all your senses to see what is really happening. Listen to Gus, he knows what is happening although he cannot see it.

Ralph Morris, Bemidji, is a retired public health physician.