The US learned in Vietnam that for every war you get yourself into, you need to have an exit strategy — or you’ll stay in it forever. The war against the coronavirus pandemic no different.
Also, many people are sick (and nervous) about the apparent endlessness and hopelessness of this worldwide epidemic.
So, what’s the endgame?
First, people must keep so much distance that the number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths goes down drastically. (This under abundant testing. Because if you don’t test a lot, you don’t know if the rate of infection really is going down.) Or for areas where it never went up: stays very low. (NB: If numbers still are skyrocketing despite social distancing, that could be from doing more tests. You now see how bad it really was. It doesn’t mean that the distancing doesn’t work.)
Then you need to do mass tasting. This to find the still sick, trace their contacts and isolate them.
And then you can cautiously reopen the economy. (You can only do that when you’re mass testing.)
That’s really all that there is to it.
However, you need to keep a certain amount of social distancing for the time being until this virus stops being around or until people are vaccinated (if a vaccine is found). Also, the discovery of medicine that works in every case (as with AIDS) would help to ease restrictions.
However, there are no guarantees that such vaccines or medicine cocktails will ever be found. With AIDS, it took decades to find medication, with other viruses, they are none.
Almost all experts see as highly implausible the rumors from China that people can get reinfected once they healed. Don’t forget that the Chinese cannot freely speak. It seems that their tests and the emergency ones the US made aren’t as good as the German ones that the WHO recommended from the start. So, many Chinese declared cured, in fact, may not have been. Also, in any dictatorship, truth may be a rare commodity in the public sphere and life of the common citizen can be cheap.
Many people have lost their jobs but many will get the same positions back quickly.
Many small businesses may need help for a restart but capitalist society will be very happy to provide.
Citizens will quickly start buying and hiring what got behind. Hairdressers will be very busy and so will retail. Teachers and kids will return to school. Backlog non-urgent medical treatment will come up. Depleted anything in the house will be bought finally. This will jumpstart the economy by which money will be available to support everyone — vicious cycle up.
Some sectors of society may lie still for some years, though. For Israel, tourism is important. There will be no entry allowed from hotspots for a long time. Airplanes may start flying again but be prepared to see, for a few years, mainly people from countries that blocked the spread of the virus from the start, like Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea, Austria.
Therapists will be very busy. There will be much mourning, many relationship troubles, and despair. Suicide prevention is important too. Know that generally, people try to take their lives because they see no hope anymore or because they want their pain to stop (not from trauma). You help them by listening to them and believing how much they suffer and telling them that still it will look much better in half a year. Dieting may also become a hot topic after lockdown.
Yes, we can. And we must. The climate change challenge is awaiting us. World hunger. Refugees. For those who like to be busy, a good time is coming.