1) Testing capacity must be developed and employed immediately upon detection of a new pathogen. Testing accuracy must be continuously improved and testing must be repeated when accuracy is not good or the pathogen is already circulating in the community. Nobody has to wait or wonder. Even people who think they are not sick or have not been exposed are tested in order to detect and isolate asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases.
2) Cases must be detected immediately and isolated. Isolated means zero contact with other people and no shared spaces. Sharing a bathroom or kitchen is not isolated.
3) All possible contacts of positive cases must be traced, located and isolated for more than the incubation period. Contacts mean anyone who was in the same physical space with the infected person, not just people that they know. People who were in the same line at the grocery store, and the person who sat in the same chair at the barbour shop later in the day, are contacts. Tracing contacts requires the use of technology and specifically location monitoring. A mobile phone app will work when people carry mobile phones. Tracing won't be successful if you just count known contacts. Some possible contacts will not be infected, but by quarantining everyone who might be infected you prevent contagion.
4) If the above steps are completed early enough then stay at home orders and economic shutdown are not necessary.
People are all worried about this particular virus and its economic and social aftermath. Please remember that new infections continue to evolve and that another pandemic will come behind this one. We should learn from this one, the way that Taiwan learned from the last few, and be better prepared the next time.
Americans are averse to thinking that the government knows where they go or who they associate with. This is considered antithetical to "freedom". But what if you could give up this information in exchange for our society being resilient? What if we were able to shut down pandemics instead of shutting down business? It's a compromise worth considering.
This virus disproportionately kills people who are older or are obese. You can't stop the flow of years, but you can do something about obesity and the chronic health conditions that accompany it. Here in Oregon a man who is more than 100 years old has survived the virus. He is lean.
The next pandemic could be more deadly. This is our chance to learn.