If Something Cannot Go On Forever, It Won’t

Five Things You Need to Read Today

1. The Ultimate Resource

In charting out the course of the coronavirus pandemic, there is really only one fundamental issue. It’s not the development of a vaccine. That will happen, but not soon enough to head off disastrous consequences, either economically or in terms of human life. The real issue is the development of a treatment or set of treatments that will significantly ameliorate the health effects of COVID-19.

All the discussions about economic consequences, all the fantasies about emergency government stimulus, all the discussions about how long we can realistically keep a lockdown in effect—all of this is secondary to the question of whether it is possible to bring the morality from this disease down to levels we would accept as part of the normal background of life. This is, by the way, a highly contextual judgment, and there are eras in human history when COVID-19 might not have even been noticed among the many other things that could kill you. We are fortunate enough to live in an era when a death rate of one percent is, in our context, a legitimate emergency.

Solve the problem of coronavirus morality, and everything else—very much including the economics—will solve itself.

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