If you're bitten by a rabid mammal, it can be a month before you show symptoms, a period during which treatment is possible. Once the disease begins to show itself, though, death is all but certain. There remains only one course of action, memorably explained in this Radiolab episode: putting the patient into a coma.
The treatment, known as the Milwaukee Protocol, relies on the fact that the human body can kill rabies—so long as rabies doesn't kill it first. The coma stops commerce across the blood-brain barrier. In medical-paper speak: "Considering the theory that rabies pathology stems from central nervous system neurotransmitter dysfunction, doctors hypothesized suppressed brain activity would minimize damage while the patient's immune system developed an adequate response." Basically, this allows the body's natural defenses time to fight the virus without getting overwhelmed. Sound familiar?
Much like social distancing as a response to COVID-19, the core idea is to slow the metabolism of the virus' spread so that the fixed rate at which patients can recover. In that sense social distancing is like the Milwaukee Protocol, but for the whole country.