In February of this year, I was on a plane returning from India. In transit at the Dubai airport, I found myself caroled into a packed hallway, waiting to pass through security. I was literally breathing down the next person’s neck and the fear that crossed my mind was that of a stampede.

Chatter of a deadly virus spreading across China was in the air. Mild anxiety was palpable. Some people had masks on, most did not. I…