A number of government officials, pundits and data modelers believe the worst is behind us. They may be profoundly mistaken.
Rapid rollback disaster
If all public health measures were immediately lifted, the pandemic could reignite with full fury. At this point, there is no vaccine. There are no effective drugs. Testing is still woefully inadequate. And the vast majority of people are still completely susceptible to infection.
Alternatively, if public health measures were slowly lifted, it could lead to a slow-motion pandemic in which the health system would no longer be in peril of being overwhelmed.
If the only deaths that are prevented are the excess deaths from an overwhelmed health care system, the result would still be tragic.
Unfortunately, in this second scenario, nearly everyone at risk who was at increased risk before would still be at risk: older individuals, those with underlying health conditions, those living in communal situations, minorities, the impoverished, the unhoused, and those attending large events.
Individuals at risk need to be protected both as a moral imperative and as a way of stopping the further spread of the virus and the ongoing impact that will have on everyone.