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At first, I didn’t notice the sirens. As a medical doctor, I’d grown used to electronic distress calls. Besides, I live in New York City. Ambulance whines and taxi horns are the treble and tenor lines of urban music.

My eight-year-old pointed them out. “Coronavirus,” she said, as an ambulance wailed one block away. “More coronavirus,” she said, as yet another siren rose and fell in the opposite direction. The empty streets amplified the urgent calls.

It was late March, and the governor had ordered us to stay home. But my family needed milk, and my daughter needed a walk. So here we were, traversing the valley of the shadow of death in search of ­essentials.

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