And what it means is Trump could be embarking on an even more reckless path regarding Coronavirus. And disregarding the very lives of many Americans.
Because what we believe he’s referring to is an emerging philosophy (or rather bunch of BS) in the banking community, summed up in this Tweet by the former head of the giant investment bank, Goldman Sachs:
In other words, the market’s going to continue to tank, and the economy’s going to continue to falter, if the U.S. continues strict lockdowns and distancing measures and doesn’t put potentially sick people back to work. Soon. And that ultimately might have more impact on the future of the country than the ravages of a virus. (Implication: so what if COVID-19 kills a couple of more thousand people, as long as the economy is spared further blows?)
Because the whole point of “flattening the curve” is allowing the virus to take more time to move through the population and resolve, thereby preventing a spike in cases that would cause unnecessary deaths by straining the healthcare system well beyond its limits. And yes, by definition that puts more strain on the stock market and financial system. But it also values people over the price of a stock.
So what Trump is suddenly arguing against, cheered on by Blankfein, et. al., is precisely what he purports to currently be trying to do in combating the disease.
Yes, people are going to have to start getting out and back to work much sooner than the 12–18 months it’s likely to take to develop and test a vaccine. But 2 weeks from now? (And actually it’s a lot less than 2 weeks, more like 7–8 days, because we’re already halfway throigh the specific “15 DAY PERIOD” to which the President refers.) Seems to make sense to us to wait at least until there’s some kind of therapy protocol in place for people who fall ill, or work around those who may be ill. Which seems could be in place much sooner. And even maybe have a prophylactic effect. Especially since scientists do know something about this virus by now. (In addition, as we mentioned yesterday, they say it’s very similar in structure to the SARS virus, a far deadlier Coronavirus that was contained in 2003. And there’s been a lot of research on that since then.) Otherwise the virus could keep coming in waves, and the economy could easily end up in worse shape.
Another reason what Trump’s suggesting is so irresponsible is any such decision would require widespread testing, which is still not available. Once again: Trump’s not a doctor!
Also, we’ve got some pretty innovative people and companies out there right now, and many work-from-home solutions are performing wildly beyond expectations, with both systems and people proving surprising resiliency particularly in light of the huge amount of traffic and huge changes to workflow involved.
Let’s just conclude this by contrasting Trump/Blankfein’s Tweets to the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci (who by now we hope needs no further introduction):
“If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing.”