I think the following quoted article mostly answers my question.
The current, sometimes draconian, measures are not being taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19, only to reduce the rate at which it spreads.
A system that can handle a hundred new patients each week for many months, typically can't handle hundreds of new patients each day for a few weeks.
In either case, the same number of people get infected.
In one case the seriously ill can be properly treated, in the other case almost no one can be properly treated.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) - Our World in Data contains this information:
‘Flattening the curve’
This is why early counter measures are important in an epidemic. Their
intention is to lower the rate of infection so that the epidemic is
spread out over time and the peak demand for the health care system is
While the total number who get infected might not change, the
containment measures intend to avoid an outbreak trajectory in which a
large number of people get sick at the same time. This is what the
This is the reason that limiting the magnitude of peak incidence of an
outbreak is important – health systems can care for more patients when
the number of cases is spread out over a long period and it is not
peaking in a very short period.
A worst-case scenario for a pandemic of COVID-19 is that the number of
patients at one point in time is so large that health systems would
fail to provide the required care for some of them
And perhaps in a year or two we might learn the factual answer to my original question by looking at life in Turkmenistan:
Coronavirus: Why has Turkmenistan reported no cases? - BBC News