I understand people looking at the numbers and asking ‘why all the panic?’, ‘we lose many more to seasonal flu each year.

The problem is that if we allow it to spread freely, unhindered, it’s likely close to 80% of us will get it. The European medical, scientific advisors are clear about that. Unlike seasonal flu, this is a completely new (novel) virus. There is no immunity in the population, so we all get infected and pass it on (even if we don’t suffer too badly from the symptoms). With around 1 death per 1000 infected (best estimate from the UK government health advisors today), we would be looking at 53,000 fatalities out of our 66 million population. Remember, that implies hundreds of thousands would require intensive care beds – most would recover, but that 53,000 would die. We do not have hundreds of thousand of intensive care beds. We only have 8000 ventilators (and some of those are already in use).

If you look at Italy you can see the strain that just a fraction of this is already putting on healthcare systems.

I think it’s easy to see the problem here. A complete collapse of the healthcare system, with people dying without being able to get any kind of medical assistance whatsoever.

Every effort has to be made to try to avoid this.

Another problem is that there is no ‘exit strategy’. There is no credible plan for allowing the community to come out of isolation, without the virus just continuing to spread. The ability of the virus has to be curtailed before that can be allowed, somehow.