Furthermore, the idea of testing and tracing is more effective early on in an epidemic, when there are a limited number of cases and early intervention could prevent an outbreak. When there are already millions of cases of COVID-19 floating around, testing is less helpful, and contact tracing is effectively impossible.

Yet another approach emphasizes isolating older or more vulnerable populations while leaving younger and healthier people free to go about their business. But segregating the population by age is easier said than done. Those who are vulnerable interact with family members and caregivers. Not to mention that adding older people to those with obesity, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma, diabetes, or another underlying health issue would encompass more than half the population.

While there are obstacles to having an overarching plan focused on any one single idea for combating the spread of the virus, people in the U.S. seem to be stumbling into an approach that does a little bit of everything.