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Old 05-18-2020, 12:53 PM
CurtC is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,919

The curve is flattened enough


The "flatten the curve" idea became well-known a couple of months ago, and we in the US have responded better than I could have imagined.

The whole point of that was not to reduce the number of people who eventually get infected, but to keep them from being infected all at the same time, to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed. Because when enough of the population is infected that it overwhelms the hospitals, that's when people die in excess of the mortality rate you'd see if the hospitals can adequately treat those who are hard-hit.

Isn't that right?

I expected the rates to keep increasing along an exponential curve longer that they did, which means that we've done a better job at quarantining than I would have thought.

But it seems that hospitals in most of the country are far from being overwhelmed. Where do we go from here? A vaccine is a long way off - too far away to sustain the quarantine while waiting. Herd immunity is way way way off: something like 0.5% of the US has been infected, and at 30,000 new cases a day, it will take a decade or more to achieve herd immunity.

Should we just accept that most people are going to get it, that a percentage of those will die, and dial back the quarantine just enough to keep the health care system from hitting its capacity? People have to work to feed their families, and if most people are going to get it anyway, should we just move along as much as we can, short of hitting infection rates that cause a higher percentage to die?

Or is there some other goal? Are we hoping that testing and contact tracing will help us isolate the pockets of infection to stamp it out that way? We just need to wait for more and better tests?

I'm asking a lot of questions, sincerely not knowing the best answer, but it seems at this point that we just need to relax the quarantine and let the infection spread more. I realize that a lot of people will die (millions in the US alone), but if they're going to get killed by it anyway, is it doing us any good to delay the inevitable and cause more suffering due to unemployment and economic damage?
 

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