I have reservations about the rest of the this Wall Street Journal editorial but I find their conclusion a pretty good summary of where we stand:
April is going to be a brutal month for America, and the next two weeks especially. But as the bad news arrives, it’s important to understand that the worst-case-scenarios that many in the media trumpet are far from a certain fate.
Right now, this minute, the death toll from COVID-19 of those who have contracted the disease is less than 2%. Here in Illinois it’s 1.44%. IMO it’s a pretty good assumption that, as the number of people who’ve been tested and the velocity of testing both increase, that percentage will actually decline since right now the sickest are being tested. A little back-of-the-envelope calculation tells you that a couple of hundred thousand people may well die. That’s awful—a multiple of those who die every year from the seasonal flu. But it’s not the Black Death. It isn’t even the Spanish Flu.
We need to do a lot more testing, especially epidemiological testing and serological testing. Let’s abandon any thoughts of putting the measures the Chinese did into place. According to the reports I’ve heard everybody has received a QR code for their phones that identifies them and tells what the results of their latest COVID-19 test was. They’re only allowed out if they’re negative for COVID-19 (that’s from the wife of a colleague whose family is in Shanghai).
But I’m also skeptical of China’s reports. There are those who are not bat-**** who say that China’s total cases and death toll may be an order of magnitude or more than they’ve acknowledged. I have more faith in South Korea than that.