Masks and "social distancing" are nothing new. Over the centuries, Americans have suffered terribly from smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, pellagra, influenza, polio, and other pandemics.
During Pres. Washington’s first term, an epidemic killed one tenth of all the inhabitants of Philadelphia, then the capital of the young United States.
Toward the end of World War I, American doctors fought an invisible enemy on the home front — a pandemic that would kill more people than any other outbreak of disease in human history.
A disease that no one understood laid waste a major American city. Five thousand died in two months, and Memphis was never the same again.