Larry Kudlow told reporters no second wave of Coronavirus is coming.00:01Wow look at the growth rate is only up a00:08little bit we’re like one and a half00:10percent growth that number was 4045 yeah00:18but way below the original we do and you00:25know I didn’t hear the interview but youknow there’s six or eight or nine statesthat have massive declines in case ratesI don’t have time to go through with youI’m sorry the fatality rate continues tofall we don’t see any upturn I think thehots we’re going to have hot spots noquestion we have a now and you knowTexas and parts of the South theCarolinas Arizona we just have to liveat that that’s I think part of the storyof the defining impact of the virus butit does like you’re an investor but we01:00do have tools if you talk to our help01:02people I’m not the expert01:04we have tools now dpp-4 a PPE for01:08example and01:11you know the face mask if van leis said01:14we didn’t have those tools and we didn’t01:16have the experience so we’re going to01:17see these things but the economy is not01:20going to be closed down again01:22there may be certain places where there01:24is that’s up to the local authorities I01:26don’t deny but fatalities are still down01:30and there’s a lot of positive defines in01:33cases just as there are negative defines01:35in cases but no we’re not01:43below 10% by years yet that’s a lot01:47different from what01:53I don’t think so01:55I’ll check them I’m pretty sure that’s01:58that’s very close but fiscal year but02:00they’re in by the end of this county and02:03that’s a lot of private economists are02:06saying that we’re still looking for a02:07strong second after he found us and by02:10the way today’s unemployment that we02:12found qualify himself02:13twelve straight week and continuing fine02:19I dropped by02:23I like what I see on hat look we’re02:26gonna struggle through this02:29but I’m still02:31thank you
I want to get back to the pandemic, which is not at the moment being seen for what it is. It is taking place within a very different context. It has been subsumed by the Upheaval, the culture-shaking event we are undergoing as a nation.
States have begun to reopen, people are going out. Covid-19 feels like yesterday’s story—we don’t want to think about it, we’re barely out of the house. But it’s tomorrow’s story too.
The first wave is still here. It never went away. We have every reason to think another, newer, possibly different wave will come in the late fall (different in that the strain could be more lethal, or less).
We have to keep this in mind and have a plan. Public officials especially should be thinking about one.
Outbreaks continue. Some 800 Americans a day are still dying. The number of new cases in Arizona, California, Florida, Tennessee and Texas is up. Alaska, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and South Carolina are also experiencing increases. Angela Dunn, Utah’s state epidemiologist, said last week that the state’s “sharp spike in cases,” is “not explained easily by a single outbreak or increase in testing. This is a statewide trend.”
Nationally there have been more than two million confirmed cases. The true number of cases may be higher for many reasons, including that, as the Journal reported this week, some testing sites were shut down during protests. Reported deaths are approaching 115,000. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, told Congress that the demonstrations may turn out to have been “a seeding event.”
It had been assumed the summer would offer a respite, and that seems likely in many places, maybe most. New York, hard hit early on, is experiencing a decline in cases. Coronavirus doesn’t like sunlight, fresh air or warm temperatures. It prefers coolness and poor ventilation in enclosed places, meatpacking plants being the most famous example.
Flus and colds tend to recede in the summer and return in the fall and winter. The 1918 influenza epidemic hit America hard in the spring, but its second, deadlier wave came in October.
Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitchtold the Journal of the American Medical Association that he thinks warmer weather is likely to reduce transmission rates by about 20%: “That’s only enough to slow it down, but not enough to stop it.”
Among its mysteries: Why such a case-to-case range of severity? Do the infected who become seriously ill fully recover? Are there “long-term durable effects”? And the illness is “shining a bright light on something we’ve known for a very long time,” Dr. Fauci said, which speaks of the greater vulnerability to and harder impacts on African-Americans and other people of color. It has been a “double whammy” for black people.
“Oh my goodness,” he said, “Where is it going to end?”
Markets often tell you how bright investors are viewing the future. CNBC reported Thursday that “the so-called stay-at-home trade” stocks “bucked the market’s overall negative trend . . . amid growing concerns of a potential second wave of new coronavirus cases.” Netflix and Amazon were up, and so was Zoom Video Communications.
Obviously a vaccine would change everything. Dr. Fauci told Yahoo Finance that “it is very difficult to predict” when and how success will come, but he is, as always, “cautiously optimistic” there might be an answer by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021. Yet “there is no guarantee at all that we are going to have a safe and effective vaccine.”
It is not unhelpful in life generally, at least in historical matters, to expect the worst. You’ll never feel disappointed. If the worst happens your bleak worldview is ratified. If it doesn’t you’re pleasantly surprised.
If you expect the worst on coronavirus you’ll think personal caution and carefulness are absolutely essential this summer, and a hard time is coming late this fall and winter.
Which gets us to the governors, who again will be galvanized.
They were right to take strong action early on in the crisis. There is no doubt that the lockdowns saved many, many lives and allowed hospitals to hold their ground. Some governors moved late, some made big blunders, such as in the New York nursing-home disaster. But at the beginning of the crisis, in the face of federal dithering and denials, they were at least doing something.
Then they got carried away. They received too much adulation, enjoyed the role of savior too much, and the lockdowns became longer. Told we were grateful someone was taking responsibility, they became micromanagers of human life. Briefings became self-aggrandizing and Castroesque in length.
If a big fall wave comes it will arrive in a very different context. The shocked and cooperative citizens of March are the battered, skeptical citizens of June. They saw the inevitable politicization of the process. They saw the illogic and apparent capriciousness of many regulations. They suffered financially and saw little sympathy for their plight. They were lectured and hectored. There was no governmental modesty in it.
There will be exactly zero appetite this fall for daily news conferences in which governors announce the phased, Stage 2 openings of certain sectors that meet certain metrics that some midlevel health-department guy seems to have pulled out of his ear. That was the past three months.
What’s the plan if things turn difficult? People won’t want and may not accept a second lockdown, even in the face of a more lethal iteration of the virus. They will likely in a crisis accept increased calls for voluntary social distancing, mask directives, bans on big events, not that we have big events. But—what else?
The governors gained great stature and authority in March and April and began to lose it in May, as did some in the medical and scientific establishments, who became inconsistent in their advice regarding safety and crowds. What early on seemed nonideological came, inevitably, to look like activism.
But we’re going to need all of them again in the fall. They can turn now to where they started—speaking forcefully of the latest, most reliable facts, of how to save lives, of what history tells us about our predicament. Trouble is coming in the fall, and the country is going to need advice, and to trust the advice-givers.
We are only in Act I. Act II is coming. That’s usually the point in the drama when the deepest complications ensue, and demand resolution.