Here’s the stone-cold truth: There are only different hellish ways to adapt to a pandemic and save both lives and livelihoods. I raise Sweden not because I think it has found the magic balance — it is way too soon to tell — but because I think we should be debating all the different ways and costs of acquiring immunity.
When I look across America, though, and see governors partly lifting lockdowns — because they feel their people just can’t take it anymore for economic or psychological reasons, even though their populations have little or no immunity — I worry we may end up developing more herd immunity but in a painful, deadly, costly, uncoordinated way that still leaves room for the coronavirus to strike hard again and overwhelm hospitals.
One of Israel’s most renowned computer scientists, Amnon Shashua, the founder of Mobileye, has been advocating a designed Swedish-style immunity pathway for Israel for weeks. “The risk-based quarantine model is not only beneficial from the point of view of economical sustainability,” but also because “when the high-risk group is released from isolation they would be facing a largely immune population thus naturally facing a very slow spread of infection with a good chance to whither the storm until a cure or vaccine is available,” he wrote in Medium last month.