Addressing concerns about the dramatic drop in the stock market this week, director of the United States Economic Council Larry Kudlow said that, despite concern on Wall Street, there was no rising second wave of COVID-19.
Reports of increased hospitalizations in various parts of the country have popped up this week, leading some to believe that a throttling in the stock market was due to fear of another economic shutdown. Kudlow put those fears to rest, saying that the market's fall was likely due to a combination of needless worry and opportunistic trading by some after a dramatic increase in numbers due to a recovering economy.
"I’m not the health expert, but on the so-called spike, I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening," Kudlow said during a Friday morning appearance on Fox News. "They’re saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that: there is no second spike."
Kudlow acknowledged that reports of some increase in cases of the Wuhan coronavirus were known to the White House and health advisers, but that fact would not stop them from going forward with an open economy. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday that the country would not shut down the economy again, even if there was a second spike of COVID-19. Kudlow agreed with that sentiment.
"We are not going to shut down the economy," Kudlow said, saying specific zones with increases in confirmed cases were being expertly handled by task forces and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Certain spots are seeing a little bit of a jump up," he said of the reports, but also gave a reminder that things are vastly different now than they were at the onset of the pandemic. "We have much better equipment, much more experience, much more testing." Kudlow said that White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx may address some concerns later in the day, but he wanted to alleviate fears of further economic hardship and disease right away.
Kudlow asked America to look at the bigger picture of the unprecedented progress made by the nation in the fight against COVID-19, rather than fret over localized spikes in hospitalizations.
"The important point is the rate of increase of new cases is between zero and one percent," Kudlow said. "It's really flattened out. And with respect to fatalities... it’s actually lower than that, it’s like zero to half a percent."
Dr. Birx expressed concern this week that widespread protests across the country have put several inner city testing sites in peril, saying the weeks or civil unrest "had already resulted in an appreciable drop in testing rates" in 70 locations.
"All of the governors are going to have to scramble to make sure there is testing available in those urban areas," Dr. Birx said in a Monday conference call, according to a transcript acquired by the Daily Beast. But while concerns over the rate of infection among protesters and inside cities is prevalent among experts, Kudlow offered a strong reassurance that no repeat of a devastating economic freeze would come to pass.
"There is no emergency, there is no second wave," Kudlow said. "I don't know where that got started on Wall Street."