This is not a blog post to criticize governements. Nor is it meant to show off, or make predictions about the future. It's much easier now to know what governments should have done when the outbreak started. Besides, most government officials must have been living a highly stressful period the past few weeks, so again, this is not to criticize them. It's to show what, in my opinion, would have been the right response.
First, I think that, instead of choosing for a national lockdown, governments should have taken the decision to only place 65+ people, and people with chronic diseases under quarantine. AND, people living with these people. If you live with your grandparents, for example. Obviously, people taking care of the elderly should also have been placed under quarantine. Though, all the remaining people, should not have been placed under quarantine, simply because the death rate is incredibly low in these groups of people. This may seem crazy, unethical, politically incorrect, it actually isn't, as, the consequence of choosing for a national lockdown, is an economic recession. And as the days pass, the chances of seeing that recession take place only increases.
The thing is, an economic recession is horrible, and it can even be worse than the deadly virus, simply because an economic recession has an incredibly huge number of awful consequences, but not on a short-term perspective. On a long-term perspective. And that's the worst part. Why? Well, during a crisis, most people will avoid going to the doctor for their medical check-up. They will avoid eating healthy foods as these are too expensive, and will likely eat on a daily basis only pasta, as that's cheap.
Besides, a lot of people will come into a state of depression, and finally, others will stop taking care of themselves, start having bad relations because they aren't feeling well in their life,... Most of these effects will only be perceived years after the recession ended. And that's why it's incredibly important that this recession doesn't take place. My view is that as a government, you have to find the right balance between having as little short-term, and long-term consequences. But it seems like most governments are only focusing on short-term happenings, which is unfortunately pretty common in politics as they absolutely want to protect their image.
Second, instead of taking the decision of funding companies through massive inflation, governments should have taken the decision to go for inflation, but only to help people, instead of donating money to companies, while we all know that a large part of these companies are just not sustainable. The thing is, in our society, it seems like people think it's normal that when everything goes well with the economy, we let people enjoy and do nothing, while, when the economy doesn't go well, weirdly enough, we try to manipulate how the markets behave by massively inflating the economy, and we start donating money to companies, which shouldn't have been there in the first place. The economy is essentially a self-cleaning system, as, when there is a recession, companies which shouldn't exist, simply go bankrupt, and so they disappear. That's how it should be.
And when the economy goes well, it gives a chance to new initiatives to be brought to life. The thing is that, it seems like most people accept the fact that no one should touch the economy when everything goes well, but nearly no one seems to accept the fact that no one should touch the economy, when things aren't going well.
However, I'm human, like you are, and that's why I think using inflation to help people, is the right way of doing things. Though, likely not in the way you think. The US government has been sending checks of $ 1200 to their citizens. While the idea is great, the way they did it is not. The way they should have done things was to pay for essential things to survive. Rent, food, water, a cellphone subscription,... Obviously, they should setup systems to control that these things aren't abused. That way, the inflation is only used for the people who truly need it, and not the middle class, and the wealthy people, who don't really need it.
Third, the governments should have immediately forced people to wear something to cover their mouths every time they got out, AND, every time someone got in a bus for example, or entered a train station, they should have verified their temperature. This should have become mandatory. Besides, once the lockdown started, they should immediately have started the development of a privacy-preserving tracking app, to allow people, and the government, to precisely track the progression of the virus.
Finally, the government should have communicated constantly, but through only one source, ideally not controlled by the politicians, but by scientists.
These were the measures I would have taken, with what we know NOW, if I were the government.