Amidst the global panic that is shutting down the economy, there are some reasons for guarded optimism:
1. After a long delay, we are finally starting to get some actual data on mortality. The data do not seem to support panic. The Silicon Graybeard elaborates on my post yesterday about the plague ship Diamond Princess and makes a plausible case that the mortality rate for the virus is around 0.2% of those exposed.
2. We are starting to see a lot of action on possible treatments - and by "action" I mean medical studies under way or even completed. So far we've been treating patients with ventilators; now there look to be medicines coming. Interestingly, some of the treatments are very old ones created to fight other diseases (for example, it looks like Chloroquinine tablets that were used against malaria Back In The Day may be effective against Chronavirus). The medical research community hasn't been standing around twiddling its thumbs.
3. The worse mortality (in Italy) has been almost entirely concentrated in the population 80 years old or older. This has quite useful implications about prevention techniques - isolate senior living centers, for example. There is a possibility of a more targeted approach than "close al the bars and restaurants".
Sure, there's still a lot that we don't know, but it sure looks like the more data we get the less bad this looks.