Update, May 13, 2020: It turns out Politico has an article documenting the problem of conspiracy theories I refer to in this post. It also explains some of the attention paid to Bill Gates. I have added citations.
Update, May 14, 2020: When I wrote this post and “Don’t bet on ‘herd immunity’,” I essentially thought of a possible vaccine for COVID-19 as one might in terms of the old admonition against counting your chickens before they’ve hatched and didn’t bother to look into it further. I was more optimistic in the latter post than the former (this one). It turns out that, as with the antibody-based protection that arises from being exposed to the disease, and that some rely on for “herd immunity,” there are nuances, including the possibility that a vaccine isn’t possible. This, in addition to that it will take time to mass produce and distribute a vaccine should it be found, should be absolutely unsurprising, and I’ve updated these posts, including adding a citation here, accordingly.
The ugly truth here, and it’s not one I want to hear either, is that we as a species may well have to live with the novel coronavirus for many years to come. There’s a lot that needs to be rethought, including how we treat each other as human beings, should this prove to be the case, that we really need to be rethinking anyway, and—I don’t care what your political predilections are—our present political and economic order is simply not up to this task.
As one might expect, a CNN article (which I supplement here) rebutting arguments for reopening the economy retreads familiar ground: COVID-19 is highly contagious and highly lethal, with a fatality rate that, contrary to popular myth, is more than quadruple the flu. It is so highly contagious because many who contract it, very likely including those who protest the lockdown, experience no symptoms and thus have no reason to suspect they have contracted it, but they can still transmit it to others, including of course, their own vulnerable family members and friends. Worse, as the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control warns, even folks who suspect they have contracted the virus may experience difficulty getting tested; their guidance continues to state that “[m]ost people will have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care and may not need to be tested.” Any delay or failure of self-quarantine among these folks means that they, too, obviously can transmit the disease to others. Read more