I couldn't read the article in the Financial TImes, but I can read the second article in the Wall Street Journal. It discusses what the possible actual infection rate in the US is - assuming the virus arrived in the US via Chinese tourists on or around January 15 and a then spreading throughout most of the USA doubling every three to four days. It states that thousands of visitors from Wuhan were in the US in mid December and early January. It does not give a reference for this statement
As a result there are people sugesting the death rate is not 1% or 2% or 4%, but possibly as low as 0.01% maybe even less than a severe influeza epidemic. Note Germany's current death rate with agressive contact identification and isolation,
The argument has been previously raised in Britain also - that we tolerate certain death rates daily - we kill over 33,000 annually so that the rest of us can drive around freely whenever we want. As society, we have jointly accepted that ~33,000 folks die prematurely every year in the USA alone, and over 2 million are seriously injured, so that the rest of us can drive to work, drive to stores, bars, shopping centers, or across the US for vacation. It seems unlikely we are gling to reverse that choice any time in the near future. Maybe we should, but I doubt it will get voter acceptance.
The Texas Lt Governor was even more discerning - he went so far as to suggest grandparents ought to be willing to volunteer exploring the other side of life ( ie; die) so most folks ( the rest of us ) can continue to work and go about their daily activities and avoid an economic debacle. How genteel! He suggested 98% will survive - why that would only kill about 6.8 million people in the USA alone. ( 2% of 340 million ) Voters might not be pleased by that even if it is only grandma.....
Politicians are always very fearful of economic debacles - they lead to voter rejections at the voting booth, revolutions, and, sometimes, guillotines, in France. Those sort of things focus politician's attention.
Interesting, when I search for the economic consequences of the 1918 Spanish flu, I do not sem to find a depression, but a decade of very high economic activity in the 1920s.....WHat happened there??
Ultimately, the question really does come down to what are the risks, and what are the costs of the pandemic. Unfortunately, RIGHT NOW, we, and our leaders across the world, don't really have a great answer to both of those questions.
How long will we need stay in place? If you stay in place and do not get infected while hiding, when can you rejoin the outside world safely. Two weeks or 4 months or .... And what will your fate be. You may still meet the Corona virus somewhere.
There is a lot of hope that warmer sunshine and warmer air, along with the accompanying higher Vitamin D levels will slow this Corona scourge down - but I have my doubts. Ask an Ozzie, perhaps or a Kiwi.
Unless a cure or a vaccine emerges quckly, we may all, each of us, have to face this virus. Or go bankrupt if we don't have another income source.....