Most people in the US have withdrawn from their daily routines unless their jobs are essential. Quiet streets, shuttered stores, silent schools. More than 400,000 live with the knowledge that they have the disease, but the slowness of our testing means that multiples of that number are likely to be infected. In pockets around the country, hospitals feel the earliest surges from those most vulnerable to COVID-19, but countrywide, the tsunami is still out at sea.
The devastating effects of a tsunami are usually preceded by an abnormally fast and long low tide, as water is actually pulled away from shore toward the epicenter of the underwater earthquake. Most of the US currently sits in that temporary equipoise. Most Americans who receive any health care in a given year do so in a primary care setting, where they generally have the relationships that they count on most when they are sick—or scared that they might be.