The ‘war’ on COVID-19: What real wars do (and don’t) teach us about the economic impact of the pandemic


he specter of war is frequently invoked in discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Heads of state and government leaders from Donald Trump to Emmanuel Macron have employed wartime rhetoric to describe the crisis—“we are at war,” Macron declared in his March television address announcing a nationwide lockdown, while Trump has tweeted about the virus as “the invisible enemy.” And as the death toll rises in the United States, many have made comparisons to the number of those killed in the Vietnam War.

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