I offer the following for entertainment value; it may be of interest to some.
As a non-academic, I am going to offer some possibly useful theoretical context from academia that has helpful when I need to understand and engage particularly tough problems. Although it seems to have fallen out of vogue in more recent organizational management theory, I remain a big fan of the problem solving approach of "systems thinking" / "systems theory" (hereinafter "ST" for brevity), as a general approach to high-stakes, complex and/or dynamic problems. I think I have always been somewhat pre-disposed to think in this manner, but was exposed to ST as a formal doctrine and its organizational change leadership applications in b-school. Essentially ST is a discipline that recognize/engages the reality that complex and dynamic real-world problems exist as intricate and interconnected ecosystems that are multivariate and are laced with numerous relational/influential process loops that must be (at least) fundamentally understood and engaged to have any hope of creating a net-constructive solution. I.E passengers are not equipped to go into the 747 cockpit and start throwing switches & levers if they don't like the ride. Regarding ST and high-stakes human issues (like COVID) If we don't deal with the complication of the system dynamics it is very easy, while trying to save lives, to end up killing more people. The following link (https://thesystemsthinker.com/systems-thinking-what-why-when-where-and-how/ ) says it much more succinctly: "Systems thinking expands the range of choices available for solving a problem by broadening our thinking and helping us articulate problems in new and different ways." For those interested,, Peter Senge has a few nice works on it; I like at least the first 1/2 of his 5th Discipline book and his annotation style to capture and explain complex system dynamics as a story. ST has a tendency to generate much higher quality solutions that tend to do better in avoiding the aftermath of an excessively "hold my beer"/knee-jerk/fire-ready-aim oriented approach. Low resolution responses to high resolution problems, as we know, are often net counterproductive due to unintended consequences...those unintended consequences being due to unidentified/unattended system dynamics. ST also helps illustrate why there can never be perfect solution to complex problems, but seeks to accept a solution that minimize bad outcomes and maximize good outcomes. I think we humans naturally use what academics have formalized as ST when we consider big challenges, and it should certainly be in play when considering our personal/national positions on the future handling of the COVID situation. Speaking of un-intended consequences, I read this last night:
“While dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic,” David Beasley told the council. “There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.” “There are no famines yet,” Beasley said. “But I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade — we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.” The WFP had already estimated that 135 million people would face crisis levels of hunger or worse in 2020. But with COVID-19, an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of the year.
If the successful outcome metric is saving lives - currently there are 228K global deaths (the metric) attributed to the virus per Google this AM -, consider even if this person is 85% overstating the case in his report to the UN (he is asking for money - $2B), we would have to have a massive increase in COVID deaths (metric) by the end of the year to approach break even with what may be largely policy based economic slowdown induced deaths (metric). I only offer the forgoing to suggest that the stakes of these type of challenges really require that we reflect and deeply interrogate assumptions on what outcomes are desirable/reasonable/possible/sustainable etc... and how much treatment we are giving all sides of the issue, Viral, Economic, Political, human rights/freedoms/responsibilities/limitations/supply chain inertia & fragility etc..
It actually may be that we are on the right track with measured social exposure management at the cost of economic impact to save lives.It may also be that those same measures may net big negative results in terms of saving lives because we didn't really look hard at how the who ecosystem is wired together. I will say that I haven't seen a lot in the way of the justifications for, scope and duration of social distancing policy giving consideration or serious credence to medium/long-term human costs of implementing that policy. The stakes are high, perhaps that side should be very seriously looked at. We may find that the current global economy is simultaneously more fragile and critical to a massive number of lives and livelihoods than we have even imagined. We may also find that we humans are being a bit precocious in imaging we have enough information, intelligence and influence to jump in and prescribe sweeping actions to global-level events.