Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, Stourbridge, England, the sole surviving building of a great leper hospital
Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio wondered on Twitter what the Founding Fathers would make of our pandemic shutdowns. He got a history lesson from people who know about, for example, the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic of 1793, which led the government to abandon the city, and then to Congress passing a law in 1796 explicitly authorizing federal officers to assist with quarantines.
European governments had been using draconian powers to control disease since the leprosy outbreak of the 11th century, when they forced the sufferers into special hospitals. The Black Death at first moved too fast for governments to do much about it, but later outbreaks of the plague were all limited by quarantines, border closures, port closures, and so on.
Disease, along with war, has long been considered one of the circumstances in which governments might assume arbitrary powers. After all, our ancestors were far more vulnerable to death by disease than we are, and they knew it and feared it.