What we have seen is the spread of C19 disease around the globe. If this were a bad germ communicated similarly, there could be as many as 100M dead by now- like a hydrogen bomb launched in a populated area. Since most people had minor symptoms, it was possible for C19 to spread around before it was noticed. As a consequence how it initially spread is in doubt, but it seems to have been vectored through medical supplies probably made in China, as well as by international travelers. What came from China, did not stay in China, as is usual. China's social program to control disease, obviously is failed, along with trying to control the use of bubble gum.
Initially, testing was not in place. To track a disease you would need testing all the time. You go to the doctor, he takes a sample, and you find out you have X with a probability of Y. This process currently is not simple, but a little research program every time they encounter a new bug. New technology here is needed. It is very bad to have tests that take too long for a result, or that give too many false positives. You could get very sick before you knew it was C19. Also there was always a fairly high probability (40%) that you didn't have C19 but the test was returned positive.
Logistically, how did authorities handle this? Very poorly. People pretended to have crowded hospitals, mayors refused emergency measures - placing patients into nursing homes- and now they are placing nursing home patients into hospitals. The goal early on, was to create the lockdown condition for some, which was successful, actually a surprise to them. Later they tried to implement a plan to contact trace, which was a fiasco. People believed external control was basically to implement a plan to control disease, so they complied. If they had known they were being manipulated, no doubt it would have been different. They rebelled- went out of lockdown saying it was unconstitutional to restrain their movements. They did not comply with contact tracers. Most were unaffected really by C19 despite their liberty. The idea evolved, which seemed quite intelligent, that a more sensible program would be to isolate candidates that would have higher risk of death. Something would be needed: outer shell, screening and sterilization, then entry. There was nothing like this. No PPE was sterilized that I know of. There was no domestic production of PPE. They savagely blocked visitors, but medical staff were allowed to come and go.
Similarly, the general populace were locked down, and workers/grocery shoppers were allowed to move around at will. If tested positive, they were placed into isolation. This setup seemed to guarantee everyone would be exposed sooner or later as the disease dispersed. This is okay in China, to cull the herd as it were, but in the US this is very poor policy. The lockdown was an inherited idea, that had not been rethought.
Finally vaccines were rapidly developed. But many are wary of getting one for protection because of side effects, and people dying from anaphylactic shock. Elders, it was designed to assist were told the reaction might kill them. Generally it was said the vaccine did not stop the transmission of the disease, and distancing would still be required. So, the vaccines may provide some peace of mind at work and shopping, but then this group is less likely to have serious consequences from the virus. In other words they might work out the legal ramifications of vaccines this way, but like with the cold- a real vaccination doesn't really exist that is useful.
TO stop a viral outbreak like this, you have to be vaccinated beforehand so it is not transmitted. This is hard to do, since nations like China have poor social control, and are secretive. So as a country, testing to ID viruses and their early containment would seem to be the answer. Tracing the virus back to its source, is necessary, and the cessation of all travel and goods from there is required. Clearly, you re better prepositioned for outbreaks elsewhere, by self-production of products by people who are not infected.
Rapid response is needed at first, so a state of national emergency is needed with high compliance. Response to a lethal disease outbreak is not democratic. If the disease were very dangerous any deviation from emergency plans would be quite damaging. We saw areas of large population acting autonomously, and detrimentally.