New testing by Stanford seems to indicate that infection rates are much higher by multiples possibly driving mortality to .12 to .2%, similar to seasonal flu.
Still, the article does note:
“This is not to deny that Covid-19 is more serious than influenza. Its symptoms are sometimes crueler, and it is fiercely infectious—it escaped the draconian lockdown of Wuhan and spread globally in a few months. In some places, like Northern Italy and New York, it has stretched hospital capacity and endangered or killed frontline health-care workers. Tens of thousands are dead world-wide, and there’s no vaccine. So a path forward demands continued monitoring of seroprevalence as well as new case testing, identifying and protecting those most vulnerable to more serious or even fatal infections, and supporting hospital capacity to handle surges of respiratory intensive-care patients.”
I think the “fiercely infectious” is the issue. Closing in on 40,000 deaths in US in about 2 months is evidence of that. Also, had we continued to ignore it per administration pronouncements up until March 13, the death toll could have been much higher despite a possibly lesser mortality rate.
In other words, a disease with no vaccine that everyone catches can be more devastating than another with lower contagion rates but similar mortality.
“Yet if policy makers were aware from the outset that the Covid-19 death toll would be closer to that of seasonal flu than the millions of American deaths predicted by early models dependent on inputs that now look inaccurate, would they have risked tens of millions of jobs and livelihoods? The science to support better modeling and decision making is rapidly becoming available. One hopes that it will inform better policy decisions.”
The moral: maybe the predictions were right. For decades the warnings about a pandemic and its devastating impacts were mostly ignored except for some minor efforts. And, of course, with that went the research for the type of testing that Stanford just revealed. So without testing and preparations we were in the dark. And consequently drove the response with ignorance, last minute panic, and general fumbling around. Add in political rancor, hyper-partisanship and daily policy changes from the top and, VOILA, we have the present clusterf#%&.