President Donald Trump and his allies have consistently been very optimistic about prospects for the economy once the Coronavirus crisis passes. Attempts to stem the spread of the virus have led to social distancing demands that, in turn, have led to widespread business closures, but Trump has progressed though his self-confidence to the point of reportedly plotting some kind of big celebration for the day when national social distancing guidelines are lifted — although that would ignore the mounting death toll. This week on CNBC, entrepreneur-turned-public health activist Bill Gates derided the idea that the government has some kind of magic wand to fix the economy post-Coronavirus.
As he put it:
‘The behavior of people in terms of wanting to travel or go to events or even go to a restaurant, it’s been utterly changed by the concerns about this disease. No one should think the government can wave a wand and all of a sudden the economy is anything like it was before this happened. That awaits either a miracle therapeutic that has an over 95% cure rate, or broad usage of the vaccine.’
And a vaccine, Gates noted, would likely take a full 18 months or so of development before it’s ready for broad public usage, suggesting a long road ahead for economic recovery in the United States — although Trump has dived so far into his economic obsession that, besides previously harping on about the need to open the economy back up ASAP no matter the potential ensuing death toll, he proclaimed on Wednesday that the horrors of the Coronavirus “must be quickly forgotten” once the disease passes. Besides the moral repugnance, Gates notes that even on a practical level, the idea of rushing ahead out of the disease’s shadow is ludicrous.
Once we OPEN UP OUR GREAT COUNTRY, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the Invisible Enemy, except for those that sadly lost a family member or friend, must be quickly forgotten. Our Economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
Gates said that he thinks school will be able to resume normally this coming fall, and in the meantime, parts — key word, parts — of the U.S. economy may be able to open back up normally by the end of May. Gates said that “eventually, the government’s going to have to take all the expert input and create a new regime for what’s going on that’s extremely sensitive to how well it’s working through the quick-turnaround, prioritized testing.” That comprehensive, effectively large-scale testing could provide a basis for tracking and containing the virus, but amidst his mad dash to protect his money, Trump has presided over repeated abject failures to get sufficient testing supplies out around the country.