Does a second wave or resurgence mean that efforts up to now have been for nothing?

I’ve heard this a few times in relation to reopenings and protests, and thought it deserved its own discussion.

I’m not an epidemiologist or anything but I’ll say no, it hasn’t been for nothing. It bought us time. First, that means we can study it, find out what other countries have learned, field test ideas, and so on. Second, that time allowed us to ramp up production of PPE, tests, and other vital equipment. Third, if we’re lucky maybe it will mutate into a form we can handle better. In general, the more time you have to deal with a problem, the better.

Hospitals weren’t overrun. Remdesivir was found to be effective as a treatment (as have been stem cells in Israel), Johns Hopkins determined that plasma transfer was sufficiently safe to move on to testing of efficacy, and we’re closer to a vaccine.

Only ~8% of the populace has been infected. There’s still 42-92% more remaining to be infected - depending on where herd immunity kicks in. Even if Remdesivir isn’t available in reasonable numbers until October, the number of deaths before October will have been fewer because we dragged out the timeline. Even if vaccines don’t become available until next summer, fewer people will have died before then because we slowed it down.

I don’t think that the mass quarantine was the brightest nor best way to have approached this but, from a cost of life perspective, it was certainly better than doing nothing.

Define “for nothing”?

Did we do anything meaningful with this time, though? As far as I’ve heard we’re still having major issues with both testing and PPE.

Fair question. Mrs. L and I were working from home and we were glad to have a chance to clean out that garage. Wow, looking at it just this morning, the time sure gets away from you…

The whole idea with COVID, I gathered, was to buy time because many more are going to get it but we can’t overwhelm our resources. So how did it turn out?

Here’s what bbc says (it’s nice to find outsider sources who aren’t Dem/Repub):

So you are asking for a post-action cost/benefit analysis.

That is hard to do considering the subjectivity of the value of the costs for action/no-action.

Cost of action (just on US):

  • ~36M Americans lost their jobs. Could lead to the largest recession since the great depression. Effects of increased poverty (crime, health, etc) will linger for years to come.
  • Millions of school children lost precious education time that will be difficult to make up.
  • Hundreds of thousands had to have funeral/services with no attendees
  • Hundreds of unseen ways that millions were effected (e.g. one friend of mine had to have a very complicated labor and delivery with no husband or loved one at her side because of hospital rules)


Cost of no-action:

  • Disease runs rampant through US society, killing from 1M to 2M. Rates of death differ drastically by age and medical complications. Serious effects on US health system
  • Effects on economy huge as people draw back from public places although there is no official quarantine in place. Huge recession, but less than action.

Everyone has a different value on these. Feel free to form your own opinion. :frowning:

even if you get it very few people die from it. We don’t need to test everybody just as we don’t need to test everybody for the flu.

At least a 1/3 of all deaths were in nursing homes and the remainder were mostly people we can identify ahead of time. There’s your target audience for testing.

I think we’ve lost.

I really thought that an existential threat like aliens or zombies or a plague would bring humanity together.

I never expected people to take the virus’s side.

In order to defeat a pandemic, it requires buy-in from as close to everyone that we can manage. Even a few idiots out there can make the sacrifice that everyone else makes pointless.

We don’t have nearly enough buy-in. Too many have sided with Covid against humanity for us to win. We have masks and purell, and they have bio-weapons they are willing to deploy. We out number the idiots, but their allies are in the trillions.

I predicted about a week ago that in three months, we will have forgotten about Covid as being the least of our worries. I was apparently optimistic that it would take months, not mere days.

I would suggest that we would still have had major issues with both testing and PPE, even if we had let the disease rampage through the land. These issues wouldn’t have kindly stepped aside just because we decided to take on more death.

So if, either path we take, we have to deal with practical logistical issues then the one that allows us to work through those issues with fewer deaths seems better.

We’ve stayed home for 3 months at a tremendous amount of damage to people’s livelihoods.

Your assessment of the sacrifices made and the successes that followed don’t align with reality.

I don’t think you understand what testing is.

Because a second wave has been predicted anyway, I would say no.

I don’t think it’s all for naught, unless we just throw up our hands and say “Welp, that didn’t work. Everybody go back to normal behavior and I guess we’ll all get it some day.” Most places are doing a measured reopening, in hopes of keeping the transmission rate under something like control, while they ramp up contact tracing, testing, etc…

And there’s always the option of tightening everything back up, in varying degrees of course. For example, today our governor said restaurants and most other businesses can be open at 50% capacity. There’s no real reason he can’t back that up if there’s evidence of a rampant outbreak.

As far as the US and A is concerned.

  1. A spike is likely andalready been seen in places.
  2. I would say that the protests of the last week or so have made social distancing and contact tracing much more difficult if not impossible. They both need heavy and on occasion hard policing to be effective, something that looks politically unfeasible right now.

Testing a large sample of people to see who has or had the virus. Per my post I don’t think it’s necessary nor is there any way of shutting down the economy for an extended period. We need the money to pay for healthcare and that is universal everywhere.

I own a business. When I locked my doors and turned my lights off on March 22nd, I had no idea as to when or whether or not they would reopen.

I was not eligible for unemployment, so I had to live entirely on savings and credit. the $1200 was nice, but it certainly did not fill in the whole.

We’ve reopened now, at partial capacity, and I am now putting in 90 hour weeks to try to catch up. I lost some employees, and some clients. I think we’ll be okay, but it’s not certain, and it’s going to be alot of work. I’m certainly not saying that I’ve made the greatest sacrifice, but it was not inconsiderable.

As far as the success, well it is hard to define success when success is that something doesn’t happen. Do you think that the measures that have been taken had nothing to do with the number of people who died in this? How many people dead would have been worth the sacrifice that you made?

Wait…what? 8 percent would mean 25 million infected Americans.


New York was up to about 20% last I heard. There are whole counties that haven’t even had any fatalities yet. 8% is a rough guess. Most people haven’t even been exposed and the vast majority of the population remains susceptible as a giant powder keg if we’re not careful.

Infected does not equal sick. The grand majority of those who have been infected have not been tested nor found.

Success was stopping the collapse of hospital emergency assets. Done. We’re opening regionally up based on the numbers.

I didn’t have to make any. I worked from home. And again, the object wasn’t to save people. It was to keep the medical system intact. Obviously we’re trying to keep the numbers down but it was always going to involve a sizeable number of deaths. Unfortunately we’re doomed to repeat it on the next pandemic because we can’t be sure it will be similar to this one. We’ll have to shut things down until we get a good idea of what is going on. But maybe we can use what we’ve learned to reduce the death toll further.

I really admire your desire to save lives (even at your expense) but I don’t understand your pronouncement of failure and future doom. I’ve been tracking the numbers for months and they are trending solidly down. And it’s just not a downward trend. It’s a trend that’s occurring after a significant number of people have gotten the virus. It is also happening at a time when we have a good idea of how to keep people alive.