“Sometimes,” Michael Kinch, from Washington University in St Louis explained to me, “the immune system gets so ramped up that it brings out all its defenses and fires all its missiles in what is known as a cytokine storm. That’s what kills you. Cytokine storms show up again and again in many pandemic diseases, but all in things like extreme allergic reactions to bee stings.” – The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson.
Closing borders, shutting down commerce, grounding airlines, and restricting physical contact during Covid-19 is a country’s equivalent of a cytokine storm. We need to do these things to save lives, but if the lockdown reaction is too prolonged and too severe, then the response to the virus might be what ends up killing us in the long run. Zero trade and zero commerce will lead to civil unrest, famine, and war.
I think helpers will appear in the coming months. These people will be immune to the virus because they have survived and developed antibodies. Serology tests would be ideal. These immune helpers could get issued digital tattoos that give them access to markets and commerce. Over time these helpers will grow in numbers and rekindle the economy while protecting the at-risk untouched population who are sheltering in place.