The fact of the matter is that the earth's population is dependent on a host of technologies for its survival. Some of these technologies and the industries that use them - energy, agriculture, and the timber industry to name a few - have likely altered the natural history of the earth semi-permanently. And if any of these industries falters, then the death toll will be a lot higher than any pandemic.
Even if all the humans were gone tomorrow, their actions will still affect the natural history of the planet for a long time to come, I suspect. Can't we work towards a way to survive without making the planet less habitable (for all forms of life) than we already have?
Yes, nature is very parsimonious. Lake Erie cleaned itself up way faster than experts thought, I remember.
Plastics are a problem now. Nature may find a solution for that too if we keep creating plastic habitats. Do you know about nylon eating bacteria? A novel species of bacteria, called Nylonase, was discovered after nylon waste by-products were observed degrading. These by-products were known to be resistant to bacterial and fungal attacks. Scientists were able to make the same species emerge in the lab after tens of thousands of generations.
A new species emerged in a matter of months in response to environmental degradation. We're in a period of rapid evolutionary change (including rapid extinction) so this is what I see happening.
I think this is a very serious situation and I am somewhat dismayed to see some here joking about it as "population control".
The only bright spot seems to be the report that the fatality rate is only 4 per cent. Compare that with the Spanish flu of 1918 for which was estimated to be 10%-20% and the result was the death of 50 million people. But the total world population was also much lower at the time, and 3%-6% of the global population died from it in 1917-1918. That would be many more deaths today...
You may think that this is a "China" problem. Because transmission is possible for many days before the victim shows any symptoms this might easily spread. With modern air travel I would not be surprised if we start to see breakouts all over the globe in the near future.