From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:
Reasons for Hope
March 18, 2020
… Nothing is ever certain about viral epidemics, but this one appears to be likely to spread down from the top to the masses unless stringent action is taken very quickly.
As I argued last week, the pandemic is extremely serious, but the situation is not hopeless. We are at a point where it’s not quite too late to take action.
The dire state of northern Italy shows what can happen as hospital capacity gets overwhelmed, threatening not just victims of the new virus, but everybody else who needs a hospital bed for run-of-the-mill reasons. …
On the other hand, several East Asian countries have found different strategies that all seem to work at depressing new infections below the rate at which the virus dies out. …
We will have data from many different strategies arriving in upcoming days, which can help us fine-tune our own approaches. We have to learn the best ways to lock down and the best ways to open back up again because shutting down for long is ruinously expensive. …
Taiwan is trying to get by without a lockdown, stepping up surgical face-mask production to 10 million per day. So far, their tactics seem to be working, with only 75 cases and one death.
Read the whole thing there.
I respond to the impressive Imperial College report (PDF) that massive suppression could get us through the summer without apocalypse in the hospitals … but a second wave would likely slam us in the fall.
Maybe … but also maybe not.
Note: I cited South Korea dropping its new cases per day from a peak of 909 to the upper double digits for the previous three days. Since I wrote it, Worldometer has a new daily figure of 93, which sounds good, but that’s apparently not counting an outbreak of 87 cases in local nursing hospitals.