Now we’re all under the microscope. An invisible virus will make visible our true strengths and weaknesses. It will expose the faults in our systems, the sincerity of our relationships, the ways in which we work together or don’t. The week started out with cute quips about chapped hands and voyages of the damned. It ends with few certainties except these: There will be more sickness and death. The farther we remove ourselves from each other, the more we will need each other. Our way of living will be upended, and for how long?

It’s too early to tell. This could be very bad, or not as bad as we think. Either way, life has begun to rearrange itself in both time and space. Each of us now has a radius of concern that measures six feet — the distance sneeze droplets can travel. Some of us shouldn’t be in crowds greater than 250 (if you’re in Washington state) or 500 (if you’re in New York City) or 1,000 (if you’re in Washington, D.C.). College semesters have been scotched. Parades will not run on St. Patrick’s Day. Office space is becoming just that. Employees are hauling out essential equipment as they say to co-workers, merrily and warily, “see you in April!” — as if this thing will be fixed by then.

“I’m having a hard time keeping track of what day it is.”

Chase Burns, 27, has been self-quarantined in his Seattle apartment since Monday of last week, when he popped a 103-degree fever. This week he began to feel better, walked to a bookstore to look for Albert Camus’s “The Plague” (for a book club), but scurried home when a coughing fit overtook him and people began to stare daggers. Burns doesn’t know whether he has coronavirus because, like many Americans, he wasn’t able to get a test. So each cough, every chill, could either be a symptom or a feint. Flu? Common cold? Allergies?

Or is it, in fact, coronavirus?

“You definitely feel like you’re not on the same page as everyone else,” says Burns, an editor, about the surreality of self-isolation and uncertain sickness. “I think everyone is experiencing this crisis at a different rhythm. It seems like since last Monday we’re in this weird vacuum. I think that’s going to go on for a while.”

Around lunchtime Tuesday, a masked couple queued for a cashier at the Whole Foods in Riverdale Park, Md. The cashier’s eyes darted to them. “I told them, I don’t do the masked people,” she said, “so I’m out the door.” The cashier abandoned the register at a race-walk, then sprinted through the produce section.