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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Your life has been upended by the novel coronavirus. Your quotidian routines, your relationship with your immediate family, your news consumption, your wealth, quite possibly your income — all of these have changed in ways that were unthinkable just a few weeks ago. At some point, they will change back.

Why it matters: This is not a shooting war, but in important ways it looks and feels like one. Understanding the similarities and differences is a useful way to judge the potential economic consequences of the pandemic.

"Nous sommes en guerre."
— French President Emmanuel Macron

The big picture: In a war, three big things tend to happen to an economy: Private-sector employment plunges, a large proportion of the labor force is injured or killed, and a substantial part of the country's infrastructure is destroyed.

  • In the fight against COVID-19, the central strategy of the war effort — social distancing — is forcing layoffs in dozens of industries. That's a big similarity.
  • The other side: The labor force is — with tragic exceptions — largely untouched, willing and eager to get back to work as soon as it can. And the economy's asset base — its buildings, production plants, intellectual property, internet backbones, and the like — is not being harmed at all.

This is good news from a medium-term economic perspective, and explains why the likes of Goldman Sachs expect a sharp rebound in economic activity — and also stock prices — once America is allowed to get back to work.

  • The country's infrastructure might be temporarily retooled to support the war effort — GM and Ford, and maybe even Tesla, are considering moves to start making ventilators instead of cars.
  • Either way, the core ingredients of America's pre-crisis economic strength will largely be in place after the pandemic has run its course.

Caveats: There are far too many known unknowns to have any certainty about the medium-term economic prognosis. And since no major economy has experienced all-out war on its own soil since 1945, the utility of the simile is limited.

  • The world is also retreating into national borders, both in terms of travel restrictions and hoarding medical supplies. That doesn't bode well for global supply chains.

The bottom line: Shooting wars are horrible, devastating things, so "better than a shooting war" is in no way reassuring. But wars are not that bad for capital markets, and capitalism has proved extremely resilient many times in the past. It's far too early to count it out this time.

Go deeper... Coronavirus updates: Italy surpasses China's death toll

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”