Our local environmental news website, ecoRI.org has published a great article that explains how the COVID-19 epidemic in Rhode Island could develop. And, surprise, it all has to do with how much social distancing we do!
Please go read the article here. It's filled with informative illustrations. We include a few excerpts below.
Most of the clinical aspects of the virus are now reasonably well known — i.e., its incubation period, its transmission methods, and its infectious period.
One of the characteristics of COVID-19 that makes it spread so fast is that infected people don’t immediately have symptoms and are infectious without knowing it.
Since you can’t change the clinical characteristics of the disease — incubation and infectious periods — there are only two ways to stop an epidemic: vaccination and reducing the Reproduction Number (The number of people an ill person infects, called R0).
And since there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, we can only reduce the R0, and this is done by reducing contact between people: social/physical distancing.