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In these self-isolated days, silver linings are almost entirely obscured by clouds. Yet should the worst-case predictions of mass deaths and overwhelmed health care systems not come to pass, there’s a case to be made that the way the virus is spreading—in waves from Asia to Europe and to the US, rather than simultaneously everywhere—will help the global economy recover faster than many people think.

Think back to the end of February, before the virus had spread widely in Europe and America. At the time, US companies worried that virus-related closures in China would affect production of everything from shoes and consumer electronics to computing hardware. China’s industrial production fell for the first time on record in January and February as the country scrambled to contain the virus. Nearly 95 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies have first- or second-tier suppliers not just in China but near Wuhan, the epicenter of