On December 31, 2019, health authorities in Wuhan, China, confirmed that an unidentified pathogen was the likely cause of twenty-seven recent cases of pneumonia identified across the region. Just a week later, internal and external pressures forced Chinese authorities to announce the discovery of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan. Despite efforts at containment, the virus jumped from Wuhan to countries across the globe in the following months. By January 21, 2020, the United States had confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus in Washington state. The virus spread rapidly across the continent, resulting in thousands of infections and hundreds of fatalities before the end of March. Federal, state, and local governments responded with varying degrees of efficiency and efficacy, generally stressing the value of “social distancing” in slowing the spread of the disease to afford hospitals precious time to respond to new cases. Private and public institutions largely shuttered, with universities sending students home to their parents and restaurants switching to takeout-only models. Medium-to-large gatherings of any sort were discouraged or banned, and some grocery store shelves were left empty.