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A theater worker dismantles the sign at Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston, Virginia. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Brace yourselves for one of the toughest weeks in recent American history.

Why it matters: This is all the tougher because the hardships are intentional results of attempting to prevent a much greater calamity.

  • Service workers across the country are out of work after restaurants and bars closed up over the last few days.
  • 45% of all hotel jobs have been or will be eliminated in the next few weeks, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
  • "Much worse" than 9/11 for the travel industry: United Airlines says that this crisis is a greater threat to its existence than the aftermath of Sept. 11.
  • The shelter-in-place orders are coming to the East Coast. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to get ready to experience what's already happening on the West Coast.
  • Add to that the chance of tens of thousands of oil industry job losses, with the Saudis and Russians escalating their price war.

The big picture: It's going to keep getting worse for a while, even if the government and private citizens do everything right.

  • When we get testing up to speed, America's case count will soar.
  • As we get social distancing to work properly, big chunks of America's economy will shut down.
  • If/when we flatten the curve, getting things back to normal will be a start-stop process, denying people the stability that's so important to everyday life.

The bottom line: This will hit harder with local operations than big national firms.

  • In Washington D.C. on Tuesday, beloved Compass Coffee laid off 150 of its 189 workers.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.