Originally Posted by 8051
So if the quarantine/shelter-in-place orders were lifted it would be worse in the short term (i.e. more deaths/hospitalizations) but better in the long term (i.e. for the economy)? Or would it be worse on all counts than continuing the quarantine/shelter-in-place orders?
With the severity of the virus compared to the normal flu, there is no healthcare system that can provide for hospitalizations of all the people that need it if we were to carry on as normal. You might survive under hard circumstances under lockdown until there is effective medicine and a vaccine, but the chances of a lot of people being infected and needing care and dying in a short amount of time without access to proper medical care, many of which could have been treated effectively if it weren't for a collapsed hospital system, is greater.
Also, let's not forget that the medical crews are at greater risk here too, if a large percentage of them get infected because of having to treat these cases non stop 24/7, leading to longer working hours, higher stress, lower immune system, you'll end up with a severely crippled medical system in the end and that's not good when it comes to the general health of a country long term.
Most people will end up getting infected, but we have to spread out the infection rate over a period of months and not weeks, so that the healthcare system can handle it - and also while we wait for medicine and a vaccine, otherwise the consequences would be catastrophic. This is a buy time strategy. It's not ideal, but there is no ideal in this case, ideally the virus would not exist or we could fast forward in time when there is herd immunity and / or the virus has mutated into a perhaps more contagious but less lethal disease, just like the common flu.
What countries need to do at the moment is test everyone in order to be able to have more reasonable containment measures, buy medical equipment, be decisive in providing safety nets in case of unemployment and have a clear plan of what to do to kickstart the economy once we get out of this critical period.