Having looked at the modelling of the CV19 epidemic in the UK, there is no viable way to stop the majority of the UK becoming infected long before even the most optimistic forecast of a vaccine being available. All we can practically do is to try to manage that process to minimise the loss of life.
If the majority are infected in a “wildfire” burning out of control it will come in a wave which like a tsunami will so swamp our health services, they will look like a war zone where doctors are not so much “treating” people, and rationing what little treatment is available so that many people who could otherwise be saved will die. Does a doctor treat a 60year old diabetic with organ failure from CV19 or a young mother in labour or a car crash victim?
However, there is still a way to beat CV19. Perverse as it seems, we let, even encourage, the majority to become infected, but we do all we can to prevent infection amongst the minority who are most at risk, and therefore most at risk of swamping the health services when they become infected.
This plan needs courage & determination to succeed, not just by younger people who will have to have the courage to take CV19 “on the chin” and carry on, but by older people and those with health conditions, who will need the determination to self-isolate, and then, when it is time they too need the courage to rejoin society and take “their turn” at accepting the potential for CV19 infection “on the chin”.
Because for the vast majority of under 60s, the risk from CV19, whilst significant, is not dissimilar to everyday activities like driving. People can and do accept these risks in their normal lives, however the risk if our society freezes normal life and suffers huge economic collapse is massive and that will have dire consequences particularly for young people. And in any event, even if we wanted to, there is no way we can practically stop most people being infected. So, for the vast majority of under 60s in good health the message should be “carry on with your normal lives”.
However, those over 60 & those with pre-existing illnesses pose a severe threat to our health services, not if, but when they become infected. We need to delay or “ration” their use of the health services until those younger people have got over the virus and are able to keep the country going when the most vulnerable are affected – in the NHS, in pharmacies, in shops and delivery services.
If we can strictly isolate and quarantine those most at risk, we can beat CV19, because not only do we limit the numbers needing treatment, but once enough people in the population get “herd immunity”, CV19 will find it incredibly difficult to take hold in society and the risk to those groups most at risk then goes down so that even those in the high risk groups may be able to regain social contacts with a much lower risk of infection.