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Trump allies acknowledge the coronavirus could present an existential political threat for the president

Politico reports:

With the possibility of a U.S. outbreak growing by the day, Trump allies and advisers have grown increasingly worried that a botched coronavirus response will hit the U.S. economy. Even Donald Trump Jr. has mused to associates he hopes the White House does not screw up the response and put the president’s best reelection message at risk, said two individuals with knowledge of his comments.

“Trump’s reelection effort is so closely tied to the strength of the stock market and the economy,” said Moore, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and 2016 Trump campaign adviser. “Anything that shakes us off of that pro-growth track is a concern, but I think the view of officials in the White House is that this will be contained.”

“Once the virus is contained, the market will bounce right back,” Moore added.

Trump himself took a break from his two-day trip to India to weigh in on coronavirus, tweeting that the virus was under control in the United States. “We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” he wrote late Monday afternoon.


But inside the White House, officials have been quietly studying models of the pandemic’s potential effect on both the U.S. and the global economy, said one Republican close to the White House. Among policy aides, there’s widespread concern that the spread of the coronavirus will hit a slew of industries including manufacturers, airlines, automakers and tech companies, slowing down both the U.S. and Chinese economies. Aides fear the White House has few economic tricks it can deploy to lessen the impact. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports:

[T]he head of immunization at the CDC, Nancy Messonnier, said that disruption to everyday life may be severe as the virus spreads among local communities.

“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Messonnier said in a telephone press briefing.

“Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but rather more exactly when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

In the absence of a vaccine or medicines, other methods would be needed to contain the spread of the disease, including possible school closures, and telecommuting where possible instead of travelling to workplaces.

“I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming, and that disruption to everyday life may be severe. But these are things that people need to start thinking about now,” Messonier said. “I had a conversation with my family over breakfast this morning, and I told my children that – while I didn’t think they were at risk – right now, we as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives.” [Continue reading…]

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