Jonathan Kay in Quillette:
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19—the acute respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus—a pandemic. And almost everywhere you look, the data appear to show a frightening exponential rise in new cases. As I write this, on March 17th, the latest available reports show that confirmed cases have doubled in Italy over the last five days. In Spain, the most recent doubling period has been just three days. In France, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, the UK, and Netherlands, the figures are four, three, three, five, three, and four respectively. When these facts are presented in graph form, the vertiginous lines suggest a world feverishly coughing its way into apocalypse.
But assuming that governments act responsibly, and absent some horrifying SARS-CoV-2 mutation, there will be no apocalypse. Stock markets and economies will suffer greatly. But even this damage can be mitigated through decisive action. The more aggressively that our leaders act to suppress the spread of COVID-19, the more quickly the crisis will pass, and the sooner we will all be able to return to normal daily life. The decisions we make now could mean the difference between a global recession and a historical event on par with The Great Depression.
The good news is that we definitely can suppress COVID-19, even if no cure or effective vaccine emerges. We know this because it already has been done in the most populous country on Earth.