“Why am I buying so much garlic? Eighteen heads! WHY?” A sleek woman is screaming at her boyfriend in front of the Stop & Shop in East Hampton. She is a little unhinged. Laurie Lewis, a New York real-estate broker, is also in the parking lot, waiting for her wife to return “from power-shopping crap we would never eat in a million years.” Noting the woman looks like she might burst into tears, Lewis sticks her head out the window and shouts, “Hey, it’s a virus, not a vampire!”

In a sense, though, this virus is a vampire, often coming to us in the form of loved ones who bite without being able to help themselves. Or, if you’ll allow me to torture this analogy a little bit more, maybe it’s turning us into werewolves as we lock ourselves in our rooms to prevent causing harm to others. Either way: we fear monsters, and we fear becoming monsters.