Trump Causes Further Controversy
President’s Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis continues to draw criticism this week. Following on from the President announcing last week that he will be cancelling US funding for the WHO, Trump has now announced that he is signing an executive order which will temporarily ban all immigration into the US.
Utilising is preferred communications channel of Twitter, the President wrote: ‘In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!’.
22 Million Jobless in US
Trump’s tweet comes amidst the continued deterioration of US labour market conditions. According to the weekly jobless claims number, over 22 million US workers have now filed unemployment since the lock-downs began in the US. The death toll from the virus there has now soared above 42,000 making it the worst affected country. The number of infections has now risen to just under 800k, following a 20k surge on Monday.
Trump was already facing criticism for recent Tweets which motivated the protest being seen around the country. Following his calls for the US to “re-open” for business, Trump wrote on Twitter last week calling on citizens to “LIBERATE” states such as Minnesota, Virginia and Michigan.
Over the weekend there we scenes of protests around the country as well as media reports of full beaches in Florida as citizens revolted and flouted the social distancing orders which are still in place nationwide. The protests came despite news that the death toll in the US is the highest in the world, alongside continued calls from health authorities to extend lock-downs.
US Planning To Re-Open
The US is currently in the planning stages of re-opening parts of the US economy, in line with Trump’s calls last week. The US administration has served individual state leaders with a three-phase plan for re-opening areas which begins with confirming a two-week down trend in the number of new cases and the number of deaths before re-opening the local economy in stages.
However, the plan has been criticised as vague and, in light of Trump’s announcement this week that all immigration will be temporarily suspended, appears at odds with the reality of the progression of the virus which remains elevated in the US. Early re-opening of local economies could cause a catastrophic second-wave of infections which could cripple the US economy further.
US COVID Deaths
The chart below show the number of US COVID-19 deaths with the S&P overlaid. You can see that over recent weeks as the death toll has seen a steeper increase in the curve, the S&P has seen a pause in upside momentum and is now vulnerable to a deeper pull-back unless we see a flattening of the curve here in the death toll.
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