This picture from this article quickly became very popular. Keep in mind that I'm not arguing with the obvious idea that some serious measures should be taken to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Not even I'm arguing that exactly measures mentioned in the article should be taken.
I still don't get the plot however. Say, the data on the plot is about total number of infected - so after the maximum there're no new cases. Say, in N days we know for sure either infected person will die or will get cured. That will mean that in N days the plot will asymptotically come to zero. It's not obvious (to me) from the plot why in that case second scenario will take longer.
If after the maximum there are newly infected persons than in theory if tail is long enough the number of totally infected persons than in theory if tail is long enough the total number of people infected in second scenario can be bigger in total - it just that it won't be bigger at any particular moment in time. Since mortality rate we consider equal in both scenarios - more people will die.
So, it's obvious that I'm misinterpreting this plot being not able to choose one of two interpretations and not seeing a valid third alternative. Hence the question.