If there has been one constant refrain during the pandemic worldwide, it has been references to war.
Medics have been on the "frontlines". Their exposure to infection with limited supplies of protective equipment has been likened to soldiers being deployed without adequate armour.
The words battle and battlefield are sprinkled through commentaries. Politicians have spoken of war economies and World War I-style supply chains. There has been praise for essential workers' "sacrifices" during lockdowns.
United States President Donald Trump referred to himself as a "wartime" leader facing an "invisible enemy". French President Emmanuel Macron called the enemy invisible and elusive. President Xi Jinping said China was involved in a "people's war" against Covid-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all the country's citizens were "directly enlisted" in the coronavirus conflict.
Last week's 75th anniversary of VE Day was a reality check on these metaphorical hat-tips to the past. About 75 million people died in World War II. Severe damage was inflicted on cities. Today's famous urban areas have instead been empty and silent during our lockdowns. And the virus does not put people in concentration camps.
And yet, the pandemic of war analogies is understandable, considering most people alive today have not experienced disaster on this scale. The world on Sunday passed four million confirmed infections and more than 278,000 deaths in less than six months. America alone, with 1.3 million infections and more than 78,000 deaths, will soon pass its combined 87,000 combat casualties from its major post-World War II conflicts.
The US unemployment rate hit 14.7 per cent in April, up from 4.4 per cent in March. More than 33 million have filed unemployment claims in the past seven weeks. The European Commission has estimated that the Eurozone economy will contract by about 8 per cent this year.
Some politicians and commentators have reacted to the economic pressure by pushing the boundaries of war rhetoric in an ominous way.
Trump appears to have decided that rebooting the economy cannot wait for the virus to be contained. He said: "We have to be warriors. We can't keep our country closed down for years."
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Jeremy Konyndyk, a US public health expert, tweeted: "You don't stop fighting a war in the middle, just because it's gotten expensive or burdensome. And you can't ask a virus for a truce."
He said Trump was "surrendering to the virus rather than fighting it".
The US situation is exacerbated because millions lack paid sick leave or health insurance and there is no national plan to back up reopening states with large-scale testing, contact tracing and isolation.
Many other countries, including New Zealand and Australia, have managed to plan their way towards economic reopening with a safety-first approach and without large numbers of deaths.
Essential workers, small business owners and their employees should not be cannon fodder.