From California to Colorado to Georgia and New York, Americans are taking a moment each night at 8 p.m. to howl in a quickly spreading ritual that has become a wrenching response of a society cut off from one another by the coronavirus pandemic.

They howl to thank the nation’s health care workers and first responders for their selfless sacrifices, much like the balcony applause and singing in Italy and Spain. Others do it to reduce their pain, isolation and frustration. Some have other reasons, such as to show support for the homeless.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis has encouraged residents to participate. Children who miss their classmates and backyard dogs join in, their own yowls punctuated by the occasional fireworks, horn blowing and bell ringing.