In spite of presumed readiness to confront infectious disease outbreaks, the United States was unprepared for the advent of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the early months of 2020 . The response was slow, mired in ad hoc responses, lack of planning, challenges in supply chains and human resources, and discord in balancing public health measures with economic considerations arising from far-reaching disruptions in various sectors . The lessons learned derive from such challenges . Until protective vaccines and effective therapeutics are developed, communities need to embrace basic hygiene, face covering, physical distancing, avoidance of congested settings or closed environments, and protecting the vulnerable . Further spread would continue, but the current surge waves would ultimately run their course, although endemicity and scattered outbreaks would persist . Confronting COVID-19 and strengthening both domestic and international preparedness to respond to the emergence and re-emergence of other infectious diseases should be a relentless undertaking.