There's so much we do not know right now with regard to this thing that everyone is literally flying blind, but being driven in their actions by that which they can see.
Example -- Ohio's public health director said the other day she believes there are "100,000" infected in Ohio. Ok, if I accept that then knowing what we know about the R0 of the virus and the generation time (both of which we have reasonable estimates of from Wuhan's published data, along with others) we can run the geometric series *backward* with nothing more than math and we find that close to 10,000 people in Ohio both have had it *and* are beyond the point where they will seek medical attention or have a bad outcome (e.g. die.)
Now people say the CFR (fatality rate) is ~2%, 1%, whatever. Uh, nope. See, "case" is defined by people they know about. If there are 100 "cases" and 2 people die, that's a 2% CFR. But if there are *ten thousand two hundred cases*, well, then it's 0.02%!
So which is it?
We don't know. If it's 2% it's very bad. If it's 0.02% it's less than the seasonal flu -- by a fair bit. But until we have the science, we will not know.
Is it prudent for governments to lock things down? Well, you don't want to be wrong on the 2% side, that's for sure. But does stripping the store shelves bare make sense? Not likely, no matter where on that continuum we eventually find out this thing lies. And by the way, if you crowd into the store to strip the shelves bare that's sort of the exact opposite of social distancing, isn't it? Oops.
One thing we do know for sure -- if you're compromised in terms of health this bug is nasty if you get it. Then again so is the seasonal flu; it's killed something close to 20,000 people in the US thus far this season, and that there's nothing that is even partially effective in terms of a vaccine doesn't help, especially for folks in that situation.
Essential facts are missing right now, but this much is always certain when it comes to ANY business: Leverage is dangerous, and projections based on never having some sort of interruption, whether just a general recession or an event like this, are unwise.
Best of luck to everyone out there.....