When did it become okay for the United States government to say that 100,000 to 240,000 American lives lost in three months is the best that we can do under the circumstances?  When did it become okay to say that the best economy in the world, the best science and technology in the world, and the best people in the world were blindsided by this COVID-19 pandemic and could do nothing to stop this catastrophe?  There is still a solution: declare a national two week holiday such that all non-essential work and travel is stopped and everyone shelter-in-place. 

If we had prepared and acted early we might not have had to resort to this.  Testing, tracking, and treating all patients early in parallel with International quarantines would have allowed us to skip this two-week stoppage and still limit death to 4 per million as South Korea has done.  Testing early but not as widely than South Korea, combined with a strict domestic quarantine on March 22nd should allow Germany to cap their death count to 20 per million.  Under-testing coupled with a weak response handicapped by a very old population has already caused Italy to 206 deaths per million.  But having finally instituted strong domestic travel restrictions on March 21st when 885 per million of its population was infected, Italy is beginning to see early signs of a turn that could limit its fatality count to 500 per million.  Spain, hobbled by a weak minority government, finally imposed strong domestic travel restrictions on March 28th when the infection had already affected 1,566 per million. With this, they could still limit their ultimate fatality count to 500 per million.

We in the U.S. with 571 per million infected are willing to accept a death count of 300–720 per million?  This assumes optimistically that Americans voluntarily and perfectly practice social distancing.  Wishful thinking will not safeguard American lives.  If the Federal government does nothing more the final tally may be even worse making America the worst of all major developed countries in the world.  The day that America passes Italy in death per million (with a substantially younger population- a median age of 38.1 vs 45.4 yrs respectively) will truly be a day that lives in infamy. This is acceptable in a country with fierce pride and can-do spirit?  We say no!  We must declare a national two week holiday (paying $1200 for everyone to stay home), and stop the virus from spreading internally — infecting and re-infecting city by city in an endless cycle. At the same time, we must push testing and tracking to catch up with reality so that we will finally know what the true extent of the COVID-19 Pandemic is in the U.S.  Only then we can selectively and judiciously relax the travel restrictions to where we are today on May 1st.  Perhaps by June 1st, we can remove them altogether.   

Figure shows the number of active COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Italy and South Korea on a semi-log scale.  It is clear that the U.S. had at least four weeks before the infection took off exponentially where the U.S. could have planned and prepared to control the infection.