Divided responses to Trumps address and travel ban

One address was never going to suddenly change the division over Donald Trump’s performance as president and on his handling of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Not long ago Trump was claiming the virus was a hoax and he has blamed a variety of countries and people, especially the media (that criticises him) and the Democrats.

Financial Times Donald Trump’s troubling coronavirus address

Perhaps the biggest fallout of Mr Trump’s address was what he did not say. His most glaring omission was any plan to increase America’s capacity to test for infections.

Epidemiologists say accurate testing is the single most effective method to counter the disease’s spread. It allows the authorities to isolate clusters, trace the movement of the virus and make critical decisions on where the biggest risks lie. That is what places such as Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea have done so effectively without resorting to the draconian measures taken in China.

Trump claimed “Our team is the best anywhere in the world”, but a key member of his team things differently – US admits ‘failing’ on testing, says Fauci top US health official Dr Anthony Fauci:

“The system is not really geared to what we need right now… that is a failing, let’s admit it. The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be. Yes. But we’re not.” –

In his address Trump praised himself and the US, as he frequently does, and blamed others in the world.

This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.

Viruses are ‘foreign’ to nearly every country, but the source of new strains is largely irrelevant.

China efforts were probably more aggressive and comprehensive, as were South Korea and Japan and recently in particular, Italy, who have just about locked the whole country down.

Until yesterday US states were acting on their own. The worst affected area, Washington State (at least 29 deaths), declared a state of emergency last month, and many other states have done likewise.

At the very start of the outbreak, we instituted sweeping travel restrictions on China.

The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.

No evidence of this claim.

Italy tried travel bans as early as January from China (before the US did), unsuccessfully.

Bizarrely Trump excluded the UK from his travel ban, saying that was because they had done “a good job” on the outbreak and “They don’t have very much infection at this point and hopefully they’ll keep it that way.”

ITV: Up to 10,000 people in UK could have coronavirus, chief scientific adviser warns

Up to 10,000 people in the UK could already be infected with coronavirus, the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has warned.

Speaking at a press conference alongside the prime minister, it was announced the UK would now be moving from the “contain” to “delay” phase in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

That presumably includes trying to slow down the spread from the UK to the US.

Under the new measures, the Government is recommending foreign trips be cancelled and says even those with mild symptoms should self-isolate for seven days whether they have travelled to virus-hit countries or not.

So the UK is recommending against travel to the US.

Trump closed his address with:

Our future remains brighter than anyone can imagine. Acting with compassion and love, we will heal the sick, care for those in need, help our fellow citizens, and emerge from this challenge stronger and more unified than ever before.

Unifying is not something Trump is known for. After his address he continued his partisan attacking:

As usual, opinions are divided:

However the world financial markets are not divided. They have all reacted in unison – downwards.

Financial Times Donald Trump’s troubling coronavirus address

On Wednesday night the global pandemic met US nationalism. It will not take long to see which comes off best. As Donald Trump was speaking, the Dow futures market nosedived. His Europe travel ban came just a few hours after the US stock market entered bear territory — a fall of 20 per cent or more — for the first time since the global financial crisis. It also followed the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic. Mr Trump’s address was meant to calm the waters. By the time he finished they were considerably rougher.

Reuters: Markets tumble again as global coronavirus alarm spreads

Trump restricted certain travel from Europe to the United States in a televised address about the health crisis on Wednesday, shocking investors and travelers.

Major European bourses fell by double-digit percentages, with Italian stocks .FTMIB plunging 17% for their worst single-day loss ever, as stimulus efforts from the European Central Bank did little to calm nerves.

BBC: UK shares suffer worst day since 1987

Shares around the world have plunged as investors fear the spread of the coronavirus will destroy economic growth with government action unable to arrest the decline.

The main UK index dropped more than 10% in its worst day since 1987.

Losses on European indexes accelerated after the European Central Bank (ECB) failed to cut interest rates, although it did pledge fresh stimulus measures.

Earlier, stocks in Asia also saw big falls, with Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closing 4.4% lower.

“We can call this a market crash – particularly given speed and sharpness, as well as the size of the declines,” said Supriya Menon, senior multi-asset strategist at Pictet Asset Management. The “question is whether this will cause a recession”.

The French and German markets dropped more than 12%

Spain’s main index was down 14%, it’s biggest drop ever.

Wall Street opened after the address down about 7% (Dow Jones) and has mostly stayed down at that level (currently 2 pm so another 2 hours trading to go Thursday there).

NPR: The Fed Steps In, But Stock Market Meltdown Continues

Stocks recovered some of their losses after the Federal Reserve moved aggressively Thursday to try to calm investors rattled by the global coronavirus pandemic, but then the market slide continued. The New York Fed said it would pump $1.5 trillion into short-term funding markets over the next two days.

Stocks fell so fast Thursday morning that it triggered a 15-minute halt in trading for the second time this week.

Those indexes are now down at least 24% from record highs set just last month. At 22,074.10 in early afternoon trading, the Dow was down more than 7,400 points from its peak Feb. 12.

Trump has responded to this crash assuring that the markets will be “just fine” and they will bounce back ‘when the time is right”.

NPR: Trump Defends Travel Ban, Says Stock Market Will Bounce Back

President Trump on Thursday defended new restrictions on travelers from most parts of Europe, a decision that angered allies and trading partners, was questioned by some public health experts, and sent stock markets reeling.

Trump told reporters that he viewed the ban as one way to protect Americans from the virus spreading, and he predicted the stock market would eventually bounce back. “It’s not important compared to life and death,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

Breaking news: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy has risen to 15,113 from 12,462 on Wednesday, officials say.