We shouldn't dilly-dally on coronavirus closings

In short, we face a variant of the old medical adage that in the early stage, diseases are easy to treat but hard to diagnose, while in the later stages they are easy to diagnose but hard to treat. Right now, things aren’t bad enough to make closing the obvious action. The trouble is, by the time things get that bad, it’ll be too late for closing to do as much good…

Managers don’t want to move too fast, because closing things down or shifting operations online or making other changes costs money. And they’re afraid of looking “panicky.”

Well, I can’t tell people what to do, but let me make one suggestion: If you think you’re going to have to shut down sooner or later, you should probably just go ahead and do it sooner. With a disease spreading more-or-less exponentially, and with a lengthy contagious period in which there are no symptoms, by the time it’s obviously spreading among your students or employees, you’ll be past the point where interrupting transmission will really make a difference.

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