COVID-19: Two Threats, One Path, No Good Solutions

Joe Kelly
22 min readJun 7, 2020

“When you know your enemy, and know yourself, you need not fear the result of 100 battles.”
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This is a war. The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has invaded our way of life and forced us into a brutal double bind where we have to navigate two highly destructive threats simultaneously — one biological, one economic.

The people sounding the alarm on the economy are not wrong. The lockdown destroys jobs, businesses, livelihoods, and lives. The speed and scale of disruption caused by widespread adoption of this strategy is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, and though the risk of harm in this direction may not be as immediately obvious to the senses as deaths from a contagious disease, it is no less real and it needs to be taken every bit as seriously. The downstream consequences of this level of socioeconomic upheaval have the potential to be far more harmful overall than the virus, and it is not wise (or virtuous) to downplay these concerns.

The people sounding the alarm on the virus are not wrong. COVID-19 is a new disease which we don’t understand. Its effects on the human body are confusing doctors, we don’t know if it causes any long-term complications, and we don’t know if there’s lasting immunity after exposure.

What we do know is that it spreads fast. Based on the outbreaks we’ve seen, when no action is taken to slow it down, the number of people that get seriously ill, all at the same time, is…