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.

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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.