Museum of America in the Pandemic Year, 2020

Pick a SPECIFIC date to explore

-Mar 31:  U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, capping their worst first quarter since the 2008 financial crisis

-Apr 1: The national death toll jumps by more than 1,000 in a single day. Vice President Mike Pence says the CDC and China were largely responsible for the Trump administration’s slow response to the coronavirus pandemic.  “The reality is that we could’ve been better off if China had been more forthcoming.” “I don’t believe the president has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus,” Pence says. Wimbledon is cancelled.

-Apr 2: 6.6 million people file for jobless benefits in the U.S. The U.S. Navy on Thursday relieved Captain Brett Crozier as commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. Two days earlier, he sent a scathing letter to his superiors demanding “decisive” steps to protect his sailors from a coronavirus outbreak on board. Number of coronavirus cases worldwide passes 1 million. Multiple states continue to resist implementing stay-at-home orders as the Trump administration continues to reject calling for nationwide stay-at-home orders. The same day,  President Trump blames state governors for supply shortages in their states. “Massive amounts of medical supplies, even hospitals and medical centers, are being delivered directly to states and hospitals by the Federal Government,” he says. Later that day, Jared Kushner says that the national stockpile is not for states. CaliforniaFloridaIllinoisKentuckyMassachusettsNew Jersey, among other states report that the federal government is seizing their PPE supplies. FEMA denies the charges.

-Apr 3: During a coronavirus task force briefing, Trump states, “I said it’s going away and it is going away.” The CDC recommends Americans should wear masks in public. New York City calls on all healthcare workers to come out of retirement to aid overwhelmed hospitals. *

From the Cutting Room Floor...

A few days ago, a group of armed vigilantes chopped down a tree and dragged it across a driveway to trap two construction workers in their rental house. This was on the island of Vinalhaven, an hour ferry-ride off the coast of Maine. Apparently, the construction workers are from New Jersey, and local residents feared they brought coronavirus with them.[1] Believe it or not, the annals of New England history contain many similar stories during disease outbreaks. For instance, dreaded smallpox struck Boston in the 1730s, and townsfolk in nearby Marblehead fenced in their village and raised an armed militia to defend against Bostonians. When their own educated ministers argued for inoculation instead of violence against outsiders, fifty men formed a mob to burn down their houses and run these ministers out of town. Unbelievably, a nearly identical sequence of events occurred there again a generation later, in 1774.[2]

We Americans have a disturbing tendency to fashion ‘us’ and ‘them’ factions during a time of spreading disease. I suppose it’s a species of the debate between individualism versus upholding the common good. In the 21st century, you would think we would all see the obvious weaknesses of factionalism, individualism, and paranoia about the ‘other’ during a pandemic. But, historically at least, that does not appear to be the case. Maybe we’ve learned some lessons, though, and will change our tendencies in the face of COVID-19.



[1] Judy Harrison, “Report: Men with Guns Cut down Tree, Block Driveway to Quarantine Vinalhaven Residents,” Bangor Daily News, March 28, 2020,

[2] “The 1730 and 1774 Marblehead Riots Against Smallpox Inoculation,” New England Historical Society (blog), February 4, 2015,

TMJ4 News. Wisconsin Farmers Are Dumping Milk to Help Stabilize Supply during Coronavirus Pandemic, 2020.
Daily Kos. Jared Kushner Thinks “Our” Stockpile Should Not Be Used by the States, 2020.

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Burke, Kerry, and Bill Sanderson. “New York’s Coronavirus Shut-Ins Join the World in Nightly Applause for Service Workers.”, March 31, 2020.
Gates, Bill. “Opinion | Bill Gates: Here’s How to Make up for Lost Time on Covid-19.” Washington Post, March 31, 2020.
Grim, Ryan. “Rikers Island Prisoners Are Being Offered PPE and $6 an Hour to Dig Mass Graves.” The Intercept (blog), March 31, 2020.
Isom, Lanier. “Domestic Violence during a Pandemic and Shelter in Place.” al, March 31, 2020.
Mervosh, Sarah, Denise Lu, and Vanessa Swales. “See Which States and Cities Have Told Residents to Stay at Home.” The New York Times, March 31, 2020, sec. U.S.
Shear, Michael D., Michael Crowley, and James Glanz. “Coronavirus May Kill 100,000 to 240,000 in U.S. Despite Actions, Officials Say.” The New York Times, March 31, 2020, sec. U.S.
ABA. “Two Centuries of Law Guide Legal Approach to Modern Pandemic,” April 2020.
Alon, Titan, Matthias Doepke, Jane Olmstead-Rumsey, and Michèle Tertilt. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality.” Working Paper. National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2020.
Bartik, Alexander W, Marianne Bertrand, Zoë B Cullen, Edward L Glaeser, Michael Luca, and Christopher T Stanton. “How Are Small Businesses Adjusting to COVID-19? Early Evidence from a Survey.” Working Paper. National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2020.
Dallas County. “Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Judge Jenkins Orders.” Page. a1-dc-covid-19, April 2020.
Hedegaard, Holly, Sally C. Curtin, and Margaret Warner. “CDC: Increase in Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2018 – Data Briefs – Number 361 – March 2020,” April 2020.
National Vital Statistics System. “Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Vital Statistics Reporting Guide. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, April 2020.
Ataiants, Janna, Alexis M. Roth, Silvana Mazzella, and Stephen E. Lankenau. “Circumstances of Overdose among Street-Involved, Opioid-Injecting Women: Drug, Set, and Setting.” International Journal of Drug Policy 78 (April 1, 2020): 102691.
Barkan, Ross. “There Is No Greater Illustration of Corporate America’s Moral Decay than Amazon.” The Guardian, April 1, 2020, sec. Opinion.
Chang, Le, Ying Yan, and Lunan Wang. “Coronavirus Disease 2019: Coronaviruses and Blood Safety.” Transfusion Medicine Reviews 34, no. 2 (April 1, 2020): 75–80.
Griffin, Drew, Curt Devine, Scott Bronstein, and Nelli Black. “Documents Show Backlog of 160,000 Coronavirus Tests at Just One Lab Company.” CNN, April 1, 2020.
Rick DeSantis. “Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Stay-at-Home Executive Order.”, April 1, 2020.
Roesler, Peter. “Tips for Responsible and Smart Marketing During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”, April 1, 2020.
Singhal, Tanu. “A Review of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19).” The Indian Journal of Pediatrics 87, no. 4 (April 1, 2020): 281–86.
Talev, Margaret. “Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: Rich Sheltered, Poor Shafted as Virus Rages.” Axios, April 1, 2020.
Zhou, Min, Xinxin Zhang, and Jieming Qu. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Clinical Update.” Frontiers of Medicine 14, no. 2 (April 1, 2020): 126–35.
Newkirk II, Vann R. “The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South.” The Atlantic, April 2, 2020.
Nolen, LaShyra. “The Slave Who Helped Boston Battle Smallpox.” Undark Magazine, April 2, 2020.
HHS Office of Inspector General. “Hospital Experiences Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of a National Pulse Survey March 23-27, 2020. OEI-06-20-00300.” Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services, April 3, 2020.
Johnson, Akilah, and Talia Buford. “Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate.” ProPublica, April 3, 2020.
Luhby, Tami. “Food Banks Struggle as Demand Explodes.” CNN, April 3, 2020.
Rice-Oxley, Mark. “Covid-19: A Good Time to Dig out Good News.” The Guardian, April 3, 2020, sec. World news.
Shamus, Kristen Jordan, and Kristi Tanner. “Wayne County, Detroit Account for 47% of State’s Coronavirus Cases.” Detroit Free Press, April 3, 2020.
Stone, Madeleine. “Carbon Emissions Are Falling Sharply Due to Coronavirus. But Not for Long.” National Geographic, April 3, 2020.
USAO-Michigan, Eastern. “Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Warn Against Teleconferencing Hacking During Coronavirus Pandemic.” U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Michigan, Department of Justice, April 3, 2020.
Cunningham, Erin, and Dalton Bennett. “Coronavirus Burial Pits in Iran so Vast That They’re Visible from Space.” Washington Post, March 12, 2020.
IHME. “New COVID-19 Forecasts: US Hospitals Could Be Overwhelmed in the Second Week of April by Demand for ICU Beds, and US Deaths Could Total 81,000 by July.” Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, March 26, 2020.
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* Timeline summaries at the top of the page come from a variety of sources:, including The American Journal of Managed Care COVID-19 Timeline (, the Just Security Group at the NYU School of Law (, the “10 Things,” daily entries from The Week (, as well as a variety of newspapers and television programs.