I lied. I am unable to be dispassionate. What follows is a bit of passionate analysis and some predictions. Spoiler: I'm conditionally optimistic.

* Update: this post revisited sixteen months later *


We have two enemies: the virus, and poor government. I am sure government folks mean well. But god, how many ways can things be pooched?

Open borders

Come on, it is elementary. Permitting ongoing international travel, putting practically no screening & quarantine enforcement on incoming travelers ensures a steady flow of bugs. It turns the native population's efforts & sacrifices into a tragic farce. That Ontario or Toronto level security/medical agencies didn't check, track, or detain every incoming person at Toronto Pearson is an abdication of their duty, even if it should have been federal jurisdiction.


How much longer do we have to hear the charade that healthy people should not wear masks? It is eminently clear - and well proven in medical literature - that even crappy masks do at least some good in blocking droplets/goo from nearby people. Remember, there exist asymptomatic carriers - maybe 25% of the total, maybe more. Yesterday, our provincial CMoH finally admitted on camera that the reason he's not mandating long-term-care staff to mask up right now is in order to protect the stocks of PPE for hospitals. They are needed (tons of old people & staff are sick & dying in these facilities) and they help. You can't buy them, sadly, so let's all make some! These are NYT's plans, there are many others.


All the "flattening the curve" stuff is well-intended of course. A rapid epidemic that kills 2% of the entire population - especially the old & sick - is tough to imagine. Any alternative is worth considering ...... but the rate at which the "flatten the curve" meme went mainstream is still a wonder. People are led to believe that a lockdown ("suppression") is a well-understood thing: as though if we just did it for a few weeks, things would be fine and the virus would be gone. But that's just not true. People still have to circulate (to pass food and enforce laws and all kinds of things), and they are a vector for infection. And see above about open borders. The virus would just not burn out.

So maybe we need it longer. How do we know? Do your leaders state the exit conditions for your lockdown? Every jurisdiction I know of that has gone into lockdown has failed to state a plan or criterion for lifting the lockdown. And justly so: without timely appearance of a magic treatment, the immediate aftermath of releasing a lockdown is: a brand new epidemic. Without broad immunity, without a vaccine, without good treatments, and without some other serious suppression technique (universal testing, enforced quarantines for the sick, ...), the population is just as vulnerable at the end of the lockdown as at the beginning. And in fact, it's worse, because by then the economy has been damaged too. So yeah, lockdowns without stated exit conditions are a sign of failure. Read this and this and this and this and this.

Essential Services

All the jurisdictions that lock people down permit some businesses to operate, like grocery stores, etc. Some pretend to designate a logical & sufficient set of businesses as "essential", forgetting that every product from something as mundane as a pencil has an unbeliveably broad and deep supply chain. No government bureaucrat has any idea about EVERYTHING that goes into a single desired product or service. People who mess with the supply chain imperil eventually everyone.

But Ontario did something smart: they designated a basic set of essential businesses AND added that any other business that supplies, supports, services an essential business is itself an essential business. This makes for a large set of "essentials" but is far more right and sustainable than a jurisdiction that allows food manufacturing, but neglects to permit paper & metalworking needed to create the cans to package that food, or the tire services for the trucks that carry it, or ... on and on and on! Read this if you imagine you or anyone could centrally plan a supply chain.


Information - even unpleasant, embarrassing, or scary information - must flow. Models must be open to scrutiny. The press must practice Journalism(tm) rather than propaganda - if they still know how. Patient privacy should be suspended, so people can help contact-trace. Otherwise, the people's trust in their institutions will become brittle and break. And you don't want breakdowns during a disaster.


If governments don't wisen up ... keep throttling their own people ... turn people against people via snitch lines ... not realize that the infrastructure/economy that keeps us alive requires our actual work, not just sitting at home waiting for money-printer dollars ... chain reaction infrastructure failure would nuke food / sanitary / law&order systems ... cities would become hell. If we're still in lockdowns after 3 months, I'd become seriously concerned about these outcomes and prep like hell to defend my family & friends.


All that said, I am optimistic.

I place the odds at 75% that a miracle cure will in fact pop up soon. I see too many second-hand reports of the #TrumpPills and similar concoctions working to believe they are all flukes. The left will be heartbroken at Trump's certain gloating in the aftermath, but tough, the world will have dodged a bullet. If our casualty rates go way down, then we can all get back to work immediately, and the V-shaped recovery in business (and the stock market) will be incredible.

Furthermore, I place the odds at 50% that some nations deliberately or accidentally go the "herd immunity" route through this epidemic -- get it over with, quickly. They will show the rest of the world that it is not THAT bad. Heck, we may see it with organizations such military units or police forces, where sick members just cannot be put into idle-quarantine in significant numbers. In this case too, I expect the lockdowns to be wound quite a way down, maybe with some halfway protection measures (mandatory public masks) in place AND tacitly accepting defeat of curve-flattening. No V recovery in this case, but still better than an indefinite lockdown & mayhem.

And when it's over, let's repatriate all that industry we foolishly sent to China, or at least anything with a plausible national security angle. Nationalism will reign awhile. Good, we have had too much of the opposite. In the mean time, let's stay skeptical of government and experts. Let't not be too harsh on each other daring to set foot on some green space or meeting friends. We will muddle through. Good luck to us all.