There is a lag time between when action in containment affects the infection rate. In my opinion, based on the data available, the future consequences have already been set in stone and I’m concerned about the reaction that people are going to have when it hits.
The test kits were to promote containment. Containment has failed. Testing as far as treatments go will help diagnosis and efficiently managing cases. At this point the US has not implemented any isolation measures that have affected the national infection rate. And the rushes to the grocery stores, much like the rush to escape quarantines in Italy, almost guarantees alarming infection increases in the next week or two.
On top of that, the CDC is actively making recommendations to healthcare providers which contradict anecdotal evidence presented in case reports and studies since the beginning of February. I think this is because the traditional approach in medicine is to only apply 100 percent known evidence to medical crisis, not because of mismanagement at the CDC. Improvement or other changes to that approach would have to be done at the clinician diagnostic level.
I’ve been tracking the infections since mid January. In the last three weeks on each Friday, the case positives dramatically increased. We had, 60 the first week, 240 the next, and last Friday 1200. My understanding is, because the infection rate (tested case positives) is exponentially increasing, that means we have an unconstrained outbreak.
The actual rate of infection would be dependent on the base R0 factor without any containment measures. Since this virus is “new” we don’t know what that is, at least for certain. Most case studies I’ve read indicate R2.7 or so.
The correct course of action, starting from 2-3 weeks ago is to close everything and only allow trips to the grocery store etc. Unfortunately for most people, the scope of something like this and their required response to this as an individual is very hard to comprehend. Therefore, if an order was given for this, without any visible danger to the public, the public would refuse. People look to social hierarchies to determine how they should respond to a given scenario. This means they will only take limited action, if any until their authority figures take action.
Even now, with all the data available and warnings from Italy, people are still going to work, visiting friends etc, and many people still blaming Trump all the way. Today, if everyone stayed inside, did not go out for anything but the essential, then the infection rate could slow *after* we hit 60K infections in two weeks. This Friday we will be at 16-20K. Some areas could see problems with healthcare availability even at 60K.