After some further research and consultation with experts, I’ll amend my dystopian projection from a couple of days ago. Based on all the evidence available, let’s estimate the virus’ mortality rate at more like 0.5-1%, rather then the 5-7% currently showing up on worldwide scoreboards. This change assumes a rather extreme undercounting (15-20x low, it seems) of current cases, a likely proposition.
Everything else in my previous post remains the same, but that would indicate that somewhere between one and two million people will eventually succumb to COVID-19 in the US. Short of a miracle. That’s still horrible, but an order of magnitude less horrible than the previous calculation.
Again, short of an extremely effective treatment appearing, the only future I can see is one where 80% of the population (basically, everyone under the age of 60 and reasonably healthy) is encouraged to get back out there and resume life and the economy. That will lead to several waves of re-infection and breakouts, but the mortality among that more robust 80% of everyone will be low. Meanwhile, those of us in the higher-risk 60+ group will remain isolated until treatments or vaccines appear.
That’s my prediction, not my wish. But I see no way that the US can keep the economy shut down for another 6-9 months and survive, not just as an economy but as a nation of any kind. Heartless as it feels, it seems the only answer. We’ll see how long it takes others to come to this conclusion, and/or if the unicorn team suddenly surges across the finish line with miracle drugs.