Yes, the plateau is the result of distancing.
The ideal goal is to push the distancing even harder to drive the number of new cases down to a handful, the way China and several other countries have done. At that point, we can return to public health containment strategies of contact-tracing and isolating for any new cases, which would allow the rest of us to return to a version of “normal.” Provided we have sufficient testing capacity to do that.
Just plateauing is not enough. That may keep the health system from being overrun but it still puts us on a path of accepting tens or hundreds of thousands of more deaths until treatments or a vaccine are available. That many deaths means the economy stays dead no matter what some idiot governors do. Nobody is going to a restaurant or a shop if it means there’s a good chance they could seriously harm themselves and their family.
We want to beat this thing, and that means manning up to make the sacrifices now to get it done. The Chinese succeeded. New Zealand succeeded. Australia and Korea succeeded. Others will succeed. Yes, the U.S. failed so badly in its early response that we’re in the worst position of any country in the world, but we can succeed.
The goal is to drive the disease back into containment and have the testing in place to keep it there.