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An official in Cairo, Illinois dispatched a message to his counterparts in Washington, DC. He warned, the “country below is in the hands of a howling mob.” Locals not yet touched by the disease went into lockdown. In the absence of permanent public health officials or institutions, coalitions of citizens and elected officials living in uninfected areas took up arms to impose “shotgun” quarantines to fend off outsiders.
Financial crises tend to have a long-lasting effect on societies. COVID-19 will be no exception given that its economic and social impact is fueled by a public-health emergency that is difficult to curb and that is putting tremendous pressure on healthcare systems around the world.