Aside from world war, nothing has the capacity to touch every citizen on the globe like a pandemic. History has much to teach us about facing the spread of an invisible enemy. Why were warnings ignored? How are ecology and public health intertwined? Who stands to lose when a cure is inevitably found and the developed world moves on? We’ve grappled with these questions in the Review before, through early accounts of the plague, histories of mosquitoes and rats, Philip Roth’s fictional account of polio season, and more.