On the Duration of COVID-19, Lockdowns, and Time Til Vaccine

After my pessimistic post last week on The End Game, I ran a series of Twitter polls on the duration of COVID-19, lockdowns, and time til vaccines. This is what the Hive Mind (my followers, you people, the smartest keyboardists in cyberspace) thinks:

If in retrospect there is no coronavirus vaccine, how long should the US have lockdowned for? [Link]

  1. Until virus extinction                   5.1%
  2. Until virus suppression           61.6%
  3. Until hospitals readied               21.7%
  4. Bring on herd immunity            11.6%

In your estimate, how long would lockdown for virus suppression take in the US with a relatively competent (Obama era) federal government and typical state government. [Link]

  1. < 2 months                              18.2%
  2. 2-4 months                             42.4%
  3. 4-6 months                              13.6%
  4. More than 6 months             25.8%

How long would you personally be willing to be locked down before you think it is  “too long” and the  “cure” is worse than the “disease” : [A combination of two polls, consistently answered]. [Link 1] [2]

  1. 0-1 months                                    3.3%
  2. 1-3 months                                  10.0%
  3. 3-6 months                                 43.3%
  4. 6-9 months                                   5.75%
  5. 9-12 months                                  8.6%
  6. 12-24 months                               12.9%
  7. Lock Me Down Forever             15.89%

In 2025 which of the following will be true regarding coronavirus, there is: (effective means boosters required less than annually & 50% or better avoidance, ineffective means boosters more than annually or less than 50%) [Link]

  1. An effective vaccine                62.5%
  2. (1) w/ bad side effects               12.5%
  3. An ineffective vaccine              18.8%
  4. No vaccine                                     6.3%

If there turns out to have been an effective vaccine, it was released in: [Link]

  1. 2020                                                          9.2%
  2. 2021                                                        53.9%
  3. 2022-2023                                              31.6%
  4. 2024-2025                                                5.3%

In short, you are generally more optimistic than I am regarding a vaccine (because we don’t have one for the common cold, HIV, or SARS). But the main point is that the right strategy today depends on whether an effective vaccine is actually developed or not. Suppressing the virus until a vaccine may make sense if a vaccine is indeed around the corner, but imposes ongoing costs to society that are difficult to endure over a long period if the vaccine is not. I suspect people will continue to argue this forever.