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[Phys-L] It's this simple ... isn't it?

I’ve been “publishing” a lot of “papers” on my Facebook page (!) based on a couple of COVID-19 spreadsheet models I’ve developed and refined. But the bottom line for me is REALLY simple and, I think, still needs to be FAR more widely understood.

I wonder if anybody here has any _substantial_ disagreements?


In the absence of a vaccine, there are only two ways to end the explosive and relentless exponential increase in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths and see a "peak" of any kind in any given local outbreak of COVID-19:

1) Institute sufficient social distancing to bring the basic reproduction number, R, under 1, in which case we get reversed or negative growth


2) wait until herd immunity kicks in because virtually EVERYBODY has been infected.

In the first case you get 1) a peak in daily new infections almost immediately, 2) a peak in daily deaths about 20 days later, and 3) a final death toll that is something like 20 to 100 times the number of deaths on the peak day.

In the second case, you get 1) a peak in new infections much later (maybe 10 to 15 doubling times down the road from the first 10 deaths), 2) a collapsed hospital system, and 3) a total death toll of something like 2 to 10% of the entire local population (based on both the mortality of the disease and on the collateral damage from the collapse of the hospital system.)

So the choice is ours. Are we going to wear our masks and stay the f**k at home ... or not?