Yes there are two known strains but there is no evidence that one is more deadly than the other, at least not yet. My point is that the deaths in Italy are not unusual. Likely exacerbated by a older on average population and by human behaviour that leads to it spreading more easily (denser populations in cities, physical contact being normal in greetings etc).
Deaths are high in Italy because of the timeline they are on, and because they are literally unable to treat everyone. This is the reality that awaits all of our health services. Whether that is next week or next month it is coming for us all. Unless we can take extreme action like China and Korea in terms of testing and quarantining then millions will die.
I had a mini breakdown last night when the daily numbers of confirmed infections were reported in Ireland I'm probably paying too much attention to this and stressing myself out, which can't be good for immune system but its hard not to when its the only thing that is happening in the world right now and the data is so easily accessible. In Ireland we have ramped up testing and we had a significant jump in confirmed cases yesterday, after a couple of days with lower than expected growth. I know intellectually that increased testing and increased confirmations are a positive step, but it completely took the wind out of my sails. Its so disheartening to read discussion from people who are not taking this seriously as they should be. I see arguments from the UK that the reason so many young people in the US are being hospitalized is because of obesity. They ignore the data from Italy. They say they don't trust the Chinese numbers.
Maybe there is some element of truth in parts of these arguments but I see it as denial. Everyone thinks their country is special somehow and even though the overwhelming evidence is that the trends are the same in all Western countries their country will be able to handle this. We're not special. There are only so many doctors, nurses and health professionals, so many hospital beds, so many ventilators and there is a tipping point in each country where each country will simply not have enough capacity of each of those to deal with the increasing number of sick people. That number is going to be different in every country and for the US you have more time because of your size, and maybe when someone like the UK collapses under the weight of this then your population as a whole will realise the severity of this. The fact that you have such a large military has to help as well. They must have capabilities at dealing with crises that other countries lack, but if you don't take action soon then its going to be too late. It may already be too late.
I don't know if we can beat this thing. I genuinely think the world will be a very different place a year from now. Society won't end but it may be over as we know it now. This may seem melodramatic and maybe it is, but its how I see it. If we are all in quarantine for months a time, and spend all of our resources fighting this until a vaccine is ready in a year or two years then how can the world stay the same? I can work from home for the time being, and I work for a company that likely survives this, but when companies start to go under, and people either can't afford to buy things, or are afraid to in case they lose their jobs then that will have a knock on effect even for the biggest companies.
We're already seeing a flood of apartments for rent in Dublin as AirBnB companies try and offload their properties. How does the hospitality industry survive this? Who will want to travel outside of their country in September if they are going to have to go back into quarantine for 14 days after returning home as we are seeing in China?