A 2006 peer-reviewed scientific paper (Inglesby et al., 2006) on pandemic mitigation policy said the efficacy of 3-feet social distancing is unknown, surgical masks do little to prevent virus droplet inhalation, and closing schools, restaurants, stores…have seriously adverse community consequences.
The paper refers to what policymakers should recommend if there is an influenza pandemic.
Keep in mind that the flu kills about 500,000 people a year worldwide and there have been some years when it has reached pandemic proportions, killing over a million people (i.e., 1957-’58, 1968-’69).
In 1918 the flu pandemic killed 50 million out of 500 million infections worldwide. At the time, that was one-third of the world’s population.
And yet at no time have we ever responded to a pandemic the way we have with COVID-19.