...the virus does what it will do despite our nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPI), and then burns out on its own once enough people have been infected and it cannot proceed effectively?
That's what the data sure seem to be telling us.
Lockdown or no, masks or no, the virus has its way with people and societies.
Mobility data yields no obvious relationship between stay-at-home orders and health outcomes.
Masks are worn religiously in Hawaii, which is 2000 miles away from its closest neighbor, and its case count has gone up 700% in 30 days. Meanwhile, Scandinavia, where COVID is essentially over, hardly wears masks at all.
(The number of "cases" is meaningless anyway, so don't worry about Hawaii, which will be fine.)
We are supposed to hate Brazil for not locking down. Here's its chart:
Now here's Peru, a country which by contrast we are not supposed to hate because it locked down:
Of course, this is perfect for governments everywhere. They can panic the public, and then take credit for declines that were going to occur anyway.
Governments always do this.
In the U.S. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, created in 1970, boasts of having reduced workplace accidents and fatalities. What they don't point out is that these things had been declining at an even faster rate for the previous 25 years, in the absence of OSHA!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) takes credit for a 3.5% annual decline in traffic fatalities per mile traveled.
Care to guess what the annual decline was before we had a NHTSA?
So again, governments love taking the credit for developments that are already happening on their own.
Incidentally, here's people's mobility in Massachusetts plotted on the same graph with COVID hospitalizations:
It's almost as if the virus proceeds according to a logic of its own, regardless of our NPI.
This is "the most expensive game of pretending that rain dances make the rains come in the history of humanity."
Meanwhile, there was a young teacher in tears on television, terrified of returning to school even though she has a better chance of getting into a car accident with an antelope driving a semi than she does of dying of COVID.