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Also, the speed at which this is spreading is astonishing. I read a study the other day estimating that in the absence of harsh quarantine measures, it was thought to double every 2.5 days.
If that is the case, it’ll take less than 3 months for most of the global population to be infected.



Well, look at the swine flu in 2009. That infected about 60,000,000 people, just in the U.S. Yet influenza has an r-0 of about 1.3, meaning that on average each infected person infects 1.3 others. Covid-19, in contrast, appears to have an r-0 of roughly 3. But this is exponential: after just 5 rounds of spread, you would expect 3.7 cases of influenza...and 243 cases of Covid-19!

The case fatality rate of the swine flu in the U.S. was about 0.02 percent. Estimates of Covid-19 are about two orders of magnitude higher. Even if the estimates are off by one order of magnitude, Covid-19 will still be an order of magnitude more lethal than swine flu.

So even if we get really lucky and Covid-19 only spreads the same as swine flu (and if you don't think it will spread at least that much, what is your rationale?), that comes out to roughly a million deaths. And with about 20% (or 12,000,000 million) requiring critical care, that will outrageously overwhelm our chronically-strained health system (if you haven't had to wait many hours in an ER waiting room despite being quite ill, be thankful)...leading to a huge amount of morbidity and mortality from critical illnesses completely unrelated to Covid-19. Further overwhelming the emergency system will be all those who aren't even very sick, but in fear show up in the nation's ERs. Moreover, it is a near-certainty that a significant portion of our currently inadequate number of healthcare providers will be sick and/or die, further compounding the tragedy.

I don't even want to consider what it will be like if Covid-19 spreads far beyond what the swine flu did a decade ago...yet with it's much higher infectivity, that seems the more likely scenario.

Seems dismal, I know. But that seems to be the central expectation based on facts. If you see problems with the argument, please share...could use the cheering up.

The most optimistic scenario I can realistically envision is that we get a temporary reprieve in spread as we approach summer and kids out of school, and then in a wildly-optimistic scenario, there is a safe and effective vaccine available in massive quantity before next winter. But given that swine flu was spreading even in late summer/early fall, this is far from certain. And as far as vaccine goes, even with a great deal of experience and expertise, the flu vaccine each year only ends up being about 50% effective, though maybe with only one strain of this coronavirus it will be more efficacious...until the virus mutates. What about antiviral treatment? Well, despite years of research and need, we have nothing that does much against influenza (if you think Tamiflu helps, you might want to read the efficacy studies) nor the common cold (about a quarter of which is caused by other strains of...coronavirus); so, why should we think it likely that all of a sudden we can cure this virus?
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