See the Imperial College report –

If I read this correctly the conclusion of this report is that a policy of doing nothing is not feasible as it would overwhelm health care services by May this year whereas a robust suppression strategy would stop overwhelm of health services, and consequently deaths, in the short term but, absent a vaccine, would lead to a resurgence of the infection once the measures are relaxed.

A more moderate mitigation strategy that does not involve closure of schools and colleges would be less effective in the short term but would, for that reason, also mean a more moderate, though still massive resurgence when the measures are relaxed.

The option of not relaxing suppression measures until a vaccine is available is not considered (this may not be socially, economically and politically possible) but it does suggest intermittent relaxation of suppression strategies falling back to mitigation rather than complete relaxation over a period of two years.

This is a well argued report that shows what might be done. The focus is on the ability of health services to cope and the stress on ICU units rather than on deaths but the report predicts 510,000 deaths under the ‘do nothing scenario’.The degree to which this is avoided is dependent on the success of mitigation and suppression strategies. The report, understandably, does not address the challenges of governance needed to cope with the epidemic but those are considerable and will need a degree of rationality equal to or greater than that required to create a vaccine in good time.