My last two posts have been general discussions of the coronavirus threat. It represents a massive challenge to American society, going beyond its immediate threat to our health and economy.
But take the following expert opinion into account:
- The mortality rate for those infected with the virus is expected to be 1.4%.
- With the severe control measures now being taken across the country (strict social distancing, including working remotely, closing schools, restaurants and bars, and banning large gatherings), the number of cases of infection will be greatly reduced (see map).
- As of March 21, 2020 there were 34 cases in Douglas County Nebraska where I live, with 200 cases predicted by April 1, 2020 (see map).
- In Douglas County, this could still lead to a 5% infection rate by August 1, 2020 meaning 28,000 infected individuals resulting in 392 deaths (see map). This is roughly comparable to the number of annual deaths from flu/pneumonia.
- It is likely to take about 18 months for a coronavirus vaccine to be developed. When a vaccine does become available, we can all get vaccinated and more or less return to our previous lives.
- Public health experts have lots of good ideas which will be implemented in the days to come in order to return American society to a more normal state in the near future.
- In the meantime, we must err on the side of caution and take the coronavirus threat very seriously.
Conclusion. Like 9/11 and the Great Recession, the coronavirus pandemic will have a huge effect on the whole world. It will lead to big changes in American life, most of which are hard to foresee at the present time when we are still wrapped up in how to respond from one day to the next.