The coronavirus has so far taken the lives of six Americans. Health experts are warning Americans to expect more cases, and fear of the disease led to the largest stock market drop since 2008. What is next?
Experts at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have described the coronavirus as very similar to the flu, and the mortality rate has been low compared to diseases like Ebola, the Swine Flu, and the Avian flu.
The low mortality rate, though, allows the disease to spread much further and remain undetected in patients longer. While diseases like Ebola killed roughly 11,000 people over 21 months in the 2014 outbreak in Africa, the normal flu kills roughly 60,000 people every year in America alone.
In one of the worst-case scenarios, the coronavirus will become just another seasonal disease, harrying the human race along with the common cold and the flu.
As the the disease progresses – or doesn’t — here’s how Americans can expect it to affect the economy and the 2020 election.
The Fed lowered its fund rates to a range of 1%-1.25%, a decrease of half a percentage point, according to USA Today. While President Donald Trump acknowledged the cuts in a tweet, he also called for the Fed to continue them. (RELATED: Lou Dobbs Calls Out Alex Azar Over Lack Of Coronoavirus ‘Transparency’)
The Federal Reserve is cutting but must further ease and, most importantly, come into line with other countries/competitors. We are not playing on a level field. Not fair to USA. It is finally time for the Federal Reserve to LEAD. More easing and cutting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2020
“The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong,” the Fed’s policymaking committee said in a statement. “However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity.” (RELATED: Corona Sales Up 3.1% Amid Coronavirus Scare)
Markets saw the largest crash since 2008 in the final week of February, but rallied in with the largest single-day gains since 2009 on Monday in anticipation of the rate cuts.
Market volatility is likely to remain if the coronavirus pandemic continues over the coming months. Experts at HHS and the CDC have said a vaccine for the disease is at least a year away at the earliest.
This means that over the next several months, the economic impact of the coronavirus will largely be determined by the abilities of individual countries to contain it. While the U.S. managed to contain the earliest outbreaks, CDC representatives have warned to “expect more cases” as outbreaks proliferate in other countries and travel to the U.S. (RELATED: Here’s How To Prepare For The Coronavirus)
While the U.S. has maintained travel restrictions with China and parts of other countries like Italy and South Korea, increasing those restrictions and applying them to other countries would be incredibly disruptive to trade, should it become necessary.
The 2020 Election:
The Democrats began attacking Trump for allegedly mishandling prevention efforts soon after the disease was first reported in China.
While it’s true that a major blunder in containing the virus in the U.S. might hurt Trump’s reelection chances this November, its potential impact on the economy is far more threatening.
Trump has placed the strong economy at the absolute center of his reelection bid, and while a downturn from the coronavirus wouldn’t necessarily be the fault of his policies it would likely cut against his pitch regardless. (RELATED: Trump Donates 4th Quarter Salary To Fight Coronavirus)
Democrats have faulted Trump for lowballing his funding request to fight the virus. At $2.5 billion, the request was far below the federal response to the Avian Flu and Swine Flu, as administrations requested more than $7 billion for each.
Some Republicans in Congress also questioned the president’s number, calling for him to raise it to $4.5 billion.
Trump addressed these criticisms at a press conference at the end of February, where he said the funding number was ultimately up to Congress and that he would sign any amount they sent him.
Several media outlets also lent credence to the accusation that Trump was mishandling the coronavirus by repeating the false claim that he had called the disease a “hoax” at a campaign rally.
Both Politico and CNN repeated the claim, as well as numerous reporters on Twitter.
In reality, Trump was referring to Democrats’s accusations as a “hoax,” not the disease itself.