A couple of points of interest. (Written from USA perspective, as will soon be obvious)
Some years ago, CMMS passed a rule that if a patient got "ventilator associated pneumonia," the hospital would not be reimbursed for the admission. The rate of this diagnosis immediately dropped to almost zero. Hospitals made committees to review every suspected case and, surprise, the reviews almost always found another "more appropriate" diagnosis. (Epilogue: CMMS was very proud of nearly eradicating the illness.)
That's in the USA. A host of people acting in their own short-term best interest destroyed a reporting system. Now think about China. It's not like some powerful Chinese politician knows how many people are dying of coronavirus there. They have no idea, and neither do we. They are reporting the confirmed cases that could not be ignored or hidden.
On the flip side, I think people dramatically underestimate the superior ability of a developed nation with relative information transparency to respond to such things. We all know that this single-party communist system can't get things right, yet for some reason we believe that, because they are authoritarian, they will be "better at quarantines" than us.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite our own leaders often having their heads... in a place the sun doesn't shine, we have a variety of massive advantages.
A) A powerful fourth estate and (relative, but very strong) media transparency. The number of confirmed cases goes from five to six in this country and literally everyone paying attention knows, in two hours. In China (I blame the government, not the people), news agencies only report what they are told, and people like Mish etc. are imprisoned and/or executed.
B) A free and informed populace is empowered to behave much more sensibly than one in a repressed dictatorship where the facts are hidden as long as they can be. Believe it or not, people mostly comply with quarantines around here. The public widely supports rational emergency measures to contain illnesses. If a doctor thinks you might have active tuberculosis, you try to get out of your containment room. Good luck with that. You will be stopped by democratically empowered security backed by massive public support. If your case made the news, the vast majority of commenters would talk about nothing but how dumb you were. A free security force backed by a free, informed public is far more effective than any authoritarian one.
Unlike the story I told above, if someone finds a case of novel coronavirus in the USA, their self interest is clearly in favor of telling everyone, immediately.
C) An abundance and flexibility of resources. We are much worse at stifling wealth than China, so we have it, and we have robust systems. It would be comparatively very hard to overwhelm this system. Every hospital will make a plan to be prepared in advance. I saw it with Ebola. We prepared incredibly hard for what was ultimately zero cases.
None of this means that nothing bad will happen here. We could still experience exponential growth here. But RO and case fatality are both strongly affected by systems -- and our systems are very different.