The more I look at the figures, the less it looks possible that any “delay” strategy will have any meaningful effect on the coronavirus except a complete clamp down on all social meetings for about a year till a vaccine is possible. That in itself could kill many people through the economic collapse it causes.
So, I am thinking of a new strategy. If the old is “delay”, this strategy might be called: “advance” or “infect”.
The idea would be to intentionally infect large groups of people and to create a huge group of people who are immune. Obviously, those we infect first would be those least likely to have severe symptoms, so we can let quite a large group of the population get infected with relatively little stress on the NHS (certainly less than a “war zone” stress as it is becoming in Italy). Once the first group have been immunised by mass infection, then we have a huge workforce that should (hopefully) be immune & can keep the economy going, so we can allow the next to get infected, etc.
But who would want to get intentionally infected? Well, unfortunately, everyone else who is not being infected has to be more or less welded into their houses for this period to totally isolate them from the virus. There would be a high incentive to take the risk.
It may seem an odd strategy, but it could dramatically reduce the death rate and allow us to keep our economy going whilst the minority (20%?) who are most at risk of collapsing the health service if they get ill could be kept in strict quarantine for about a year till a vaccine is available (or until the inevitable failures of quarantine mean they are all infected).
However the weekly rate of infection will be much less and it could allow the level to be brought down to something that would be a severe stretch rather than a “war zone” in the NHS.
Key to this working, however, is advancing the rate of infection amongst those least susceptible and most useful to the economy. This is not risk free for them – the rate of death could be 10x that of giving birth. But the rate of death for them could be 10x worse if they get ill when the beds are filled with other people.