With the UK going into a total self-imposed quarantine, several large American cities in lockdown, and distressing scenes in Spain and Italy, life right now feels chaotic and insecure. It’s a crisis. The economy has ground to a halt.
These are the worst of times.
And yet there is hope. This is temporary. It will end. Already, there are reasons to be optimistic.
So if you’re feeling a bit hopeless, consider:
Life in China and South Korea is returning to normal
China has reported very few new domestic coronavirus cases since March 6. (Most cases have been reported among travelers arriving from elsewhere.)
Deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, are down to fewer than 10 per day — a tiny number for a country of China’s size.
Hubei is emerging from quarantine
The lockdown has been lifted in most of Hubei province, where the outbreak began. Wuhan, the city where the virus originated, is due to lift restrictions on April 8.
Many travel restrictions have ended. People can leave their homes again. This is good news.
There are signs that the rate of infection in Italy is moderating
Twice now, Italy has recorded brief periods in which new coronavirus cases and deaths have declined. True, those may merely be blips in the data. On Tuesday, authorities reported 5,249 new cases and 743 new deaths. Both totals were below the peak, set three days ago.
The overall rate of infections is slowing — as if the pandemic is losing momentum inside a country where it has nowhere to go.
italy coronavirus lockdown
A member of the military looking on as the police conduct checks at Milan’s main train station. Daniele Mascolo/Reuters
China, South Korea, and Italy show that lockdowns, mass testing, and other aggressive government interventions seem to work. We have tools to deal with this. We can use them.
The time frame for ‘getting through this’ seems to be a little over 2 months
It may feel as if you’re in prison right now, but the sentence is a short one. It ends.
Spring and summer will likely be helpful
There is some evidence that the virus prefers colder, wetter conditions. Many human diseases — like colds and the flu — wane in the sunnier months. Spring is upon us. Summer is around the corner. Things will likely get better.
This is a matter of logistics — no medical miracles needed.
There will be a treatment
Several companies are working on COVID-19 therapies and treatments. Coupled with testing, science will eventually beat this disease. It’s a matter of time. The future is brighter than the present.
Most people who get COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms
Getting sick is bad, but the vast majority of people recover.