In most countries we see almost complete shutdown of the economy and society. This hardly ever happens even during war. Additionally, thousands of people die each year from other causes such as traffic accidents. So what could be the reason for this extremely different reaction?
Most senior politicians, business tycoons and high ranking officials are over sixty, and many are over seventy. Therefore, they see in the virus a direct personal risk to themselves. The fresh-faced young intern bringing them reports with their morning coffee could be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. No hardened bunker is proof against something so persistently infectious.
Of course, none of us wants themselves, their parents or grandparents getting sick and dying. The thing is, in any given year, a lot of old people are…getting sick and dying. However, there are established protocols for dealing with most known diseases. SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is still not easily dealt with.