A week and a half after Chicago’s COVID-19 lockdown began in 2020, a nurse on a bus ride home from her hospital shift felt the brunt of the pandemic. But it didn’t come in the form of treating an onslaught of patients with SARS-CoV-2—she hadn’t been assigned to care for those infected with the novel coronavirus.

On the bus, while wearing a mask, the nurse coughed into the crook of her arm. Immediately, another passenger accused her of trying to infect him. She assured him that wasn’t the case and apologized. But as he exited the bus, the man made a fist and punched her in the left eye.