See prior posts also.
The best information readable by the layman that I have found so far is in Science News. It is a good summary overall, but like many other sloppy sources, it discusses surgical masks while omitting discussion N100 and N95 masks, which makes me suspicious of their honesty.
The real issue, regardless of mortality rate — rate of increase
Whether the mortality rate is 0.5% or 2% or whatever, that rate is totally misleading—it might end up being 10% or more for the elderly, and 0.0001% for children—no one can say yet as the figures very wildly by region and situation and in most cases here in the USA, have no statistical validity.
The real issue is that as infection spreads, even a 1% rate of severe issues will overwhelm all hospitals in the country if it happens too fast. Hospitals will run out of beds and respirators to keep people alive. It is not unreasonable to expect that to happen by mid April. At that point, those hit hard will just die for lack of equipment, unless entrepreneurial ingenuity can figure out how treat them, which means facilities and respirators, etc.
Just a few things that ought to be happening
IMO, the President should do these things immediately by declaration of national emergency.
In a nutshell: (1) get the government doing what it can, (2) get government regulations the hell out of the way, (3) and call upon the ingenuity and goodwill of the American people to pull us all together:
- Decree that any licensed doctor in any state may work with any patient nationwide (across state lines).
- Void all regulations that would delay the ability to create life saving devices or drugs.
- Void all regulations that would delay creation of additional facilities for saving lives.
- Demand that all facilities producing protective gear, lifesaving equipment etc run 24 X 7.
- Call for a nationwide volunteer program to work at any plant producing any needed gear/equipment and fully fund any such facilities.
- Longer term: call upon Congress for leglislation to bring home drug production and production of all important medical supplies as a matter of national security policy going forward.