For all the foreboding about the novel coronavirus—foreboding that is justified—it is heartening to see the American people responding in ways reminiscent of the frontier spirit. Most people are doing what they have to do to survive a clear and immediate threat to their lives and communities.

The new watchword is “social distancing.” That means minimizing the transmission of an infectious virus for which no personal immunity exists by minimizing the chance that any one carrier will pass the virus to others. The speed with…

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