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"My real answer to what went wrong is that our civilization is profoundly inadequate. We have lost our ability to do things."

This is the only conclusion I would challenge — we actually did do things, for a while. We locked down (almost) completely for a month. But the emerging consensus as the numbers resolved was that the disease wasn't catastrophic enough to shut down society over for a year, or two, or three.

Does this mean that we couldn't lock down and quarantine for a disease with a CFR of 20%? I don't know. Maybe, and if not, it would suck. Hopefully this disease has given us a trial run and the skill to actually do it. But I don't think especially evidence-based to extrapolate society's response to COVID-19 to diseases with a CFR > 1%.