How’s this for a modest proposal.
We develop a 5 point system, with 5 denoting those with highest risk of mortality and with 1 denoting least.
An eighty year old with pre-existing conditions gets a 5. 80 year olds in China had a mortality rate of around 15%, and then add to that the pre-existing factor that was noted as very significant but not attached to age groups in the data breakouts.
A 70 year old with a heart condition might get a 4, as would a 50 year old with serious respiratory problems.
Each number would simply reflect a range of probabilities of mortality, based on the best analysis possible. That is, “5” might denote “greater than 10% chance of mortality if infected”, along with all the lawyerly caveats about the number not being a prediction, that it is only a matter of affixing a set of known categories of relevance to mortality to a number.
New data may change probabilities. The numbers assigned to individuals might also change–.i.e., “people with your measured characteristics used to have a 9% chance of survival but it is now a 12% chance, and you have gone to 4 to 5.”
Different approaches to mitigation for each level. If you are 5 you ain’t goin’ nowhere. If you are a 5 in managed care facility with 5s it is in lockdown. If you are not in managed care but at home you may choose to move to a facility sealed off from the virus or you may stay, but only pursuant to a plan developed by the household to reasonably ensure the risk of contagion will be non-existent or minimal.
The decision to go to a safe facility or to stay at home rests with the individual and/or family. The safe facility will be as clean as it gets, and rigorously controlled. These would be in some ways the opposite of hospitals. The management of known viruses in the building will be replaced by keeping them out.
If someone with a 5 opts to stay at home pursuant to a plan that’s OK. But it is their risk. If they contract the virus on the outside from a 2 they may in turn pass the virus along to someone else–but probably another 1 or 2, not someone who is likely to expire.
Protocols will exist for those with lower numbers too, but the protocols and their enforcement will not be as rigorous. Consider a healthy 20 year old with a 2. That person will know that those with his measurable characteristics have, say, a .5% chance of death. With such individuals the system will be more like the current approach. “Here’s what you need to know about hygiene. Here’s how to make sure the household is as clean as possible.” But your mortality risk is x% and you decide whether you choose to venture out. Hopefully you will not be unlucky if you contract the virus and die. But that’s your choice.
And hopefully if you are infected and don’t know it you won’t infect others. But if you do chances are you will be infecting someone else with a low risk of death who made their own decision to venture out.
All this time any of the true targets of the virus’s murderous impulses are safe, behind bars for the duration.