The Dow Jones roared back with a bang on Tuesday after Donald Trump promised to get America’s economy up and running again within weeks. In a press conference last night, the president said:
America will again — and soon — be open for business. Very soon, a lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. A lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.
While traders cheered the hopium from Donald Trump, doctors and analysts disagree. Returning to normality is impossible until the pandemic is over, said Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scot Gottlieb.
There’s no such thing as a functioning economy and society so long as covid-19 continues to spread uncontrolled in our biggest cities… So long as covid-19 spreads uncontrolled, older people will die in historic numbers, middle aged folks doomed to prolonged ICU stays to fight for their lives, hospitals will be overwhelmed, and most Americans terrified to leave homes, eat out, take the subway, or go to the park.
Dow futures contracts hit limit-up in premarket trading Tuesday, and the stock market’s bullish appetite only increased when exchanges opened.
The president’s commitment to re-opening the economy within weeks has injected some optimism into the stock market.
The president has laid out an aggressive 15-day timeline to slow the spread of the virus, with a view to loosening restrictions after that. Scientists say the president should do the exact opposite.
It is way too early to even consider rolling back any guidelines. With cases and deaths rising by the day, the country must double down, not lighten up, on social distancing and related measures – Howard Koh, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Tom Inglesby, director of John Hopkins Centre for Health Security, said that ending the restrictions early would also have a catastrophic effect on the economy.
Anyone advising the end of social distancing now, needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that. COVID would spread widely, rapidly, terribly, could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country.
Even financial commentators aren’t convinced by Trump’s bold plan. CNBC’s Eamon Javers explained:
The president doesn’t have a magic switch in the Oval office that can turn the country back on. Once you shut this down, it’s going to be very difficult and very complicated to turn it back on.
Even if Trump does defy his health advisors and allow businesses to start running, there’s no guarantee the economy will bounce right back. One of Trump’s own allies, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that harrowing stories from the front-line of the virus will keep the economy subdued.
Try running an economy with major hospitals overflowing, doctors and nurses forced to stop treating some because they can’t help all, and every moment of gut-wrenching medical chaos being played out in our living rooms, on social media, and shown all around the world. There is no functioning economy unless we control the virus.
The president is undoubtedly frustrated at the slowdown in the economy, especially going into his re-election campaign.
Trump faces an impossible choice to curb a devastating health outbreak or keep the economy running. This week’s unemployment figures will give an insight into the true economic damage. If the numbers are worse than expected, it could hit the Dow Jones hard and mark a turning point for the Trump Administration.
Today, all eyes are on Congress as we await the $2 trillion stimulus package. After days of political infighting, we are expecting a vote later today. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. told reporters that he expects Democrats and Republicans to come together and pass it today.
While the rescue package is a much-needed bandaid for the U.S. economy, Gottlieb reminded the president that this isn’t over until we defeat the coronavirus.
We must accept a sober truth. This pathogen has altered history and changed our world… The only way to return to a stable economy and restore our liberty, is to end epidemic spread of covid-19.
Last modified: March 24, 2020 4:00 PM UTC