If you wanted to critique the Imperial College study it probably wouldn't revolve around their assumptions re: disease transmission (although I wonder what would happen if you assumed COVID-19 is seasonal) but rather their assumptions re: interventions and how effective they are.
Epidemiology is an amazing field - and it is the primary tool we have now to navigate this phase of the pandemic. But in the longer term, many other human activities will be just as if not more important to how society navigates this.
There is a strong analogy to the climate crisis: climate science was essential to understanding the situation, and will continue to play a crucial role in guiding our response. But climate scientists can't tell society *how* it should meet the challenge - that's for all of us.
On time scales beyond a few weeks - and certainly the time frame considered by the Imperial study - the feedbacks dominate (in either direction). We will find 1000 ways large and small to adapt to the new reality. My only prediction is that things will change, a lot.
So the message is not, in any way, that this is less serious than it seems. But rather: once we have a moment to catch our breath, we will respond with far more creativity, grit, and resourcefulness than seems clear at this fraught moment.
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