This is important. There’s no U.S. data yet on what the right side of the curve will look like, but the best available evidence from other countries suggests that the descent will be slow. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said “the worst is over” and “we’ve reached the peak.” He should have followed with “now comes the long wait.”
This shouldn’t be surprising. All our efforts to stay inside and separated –- except for essential activities such as shopping, and except for those who must work –- serve only to slow the spread, not stop it. If you’re hoping for the somewhat symmetrical China curve, forget it. We’re not quarantining people at gunpoint. It’s like someone took the worst-case-scenario curve and pushed it forward in time, without making the area under the curve smaller.
Here’s an analogy. Imagine a plow spreading out a big pile of snow in the street. If it keeps the blade higher, the pile will be taller and won’t spread out very far. If it lowers the blade to a few inches off the ground, the snow will be more manageable but also spread out much farther. The better it does the job – the thinner it spreads the snow — the longer it will take.
If people stick with measures to contain the virus, death rates will eventually trickle down to zero, but only after a lot more people have been infected, assuming they are then immune. If we’re lucky, we’ll slow things down enough to never truly overwhelm the hospitals, and if we’re really lucky we’ll slow things down long enough to benefit from a vaccine or a treatment.
This Isn’t the Flattened Curve We Were Promised
“It’s like someone took the worst-case-scenario curve and pushed it forward in time, without making the area under the curve smaller.”https://t.co/8ls11iV2i5
— Jack Posobiec, IWO (@JackPosobiec) April 17, 2020