No set of positive messages from the White House can just reverse the obvious supply-chain issues that major Chinese-dependent companies are facing. Apple is predicting disruptions that could not have been expected before, and markets must price those downward results in.. No cheerleading from Trump can start the factories in Shanghai. Nothing that Larry Kudlow says is going to make people rebook their holiday vacation plans to northern Italy.

The only thing that will work to stop a society-wide loss of confidence in the ability to travel, the advisability of going to the airport, or keeping up with one’s vacation plans is a competent response focused on stopping the spread of the coronavirus and the efficient and effective treatment of those who contract it.

Trump’s late panicky response, his professed confidence in Chinese efforts to get the disease under control, and his flop sweat about the market are the exact opposite of what America needs in its president at a time when fear of a pandemic is finally settling on the broader public. Trump is afraid that a dip in the market can topple his presidency. In fact, a competent response could make markets soar again by the fall and guarantee his reelection. But a botched one could give Bernie Sanders the chance to say that Donald Trump not only favors Wall Street with his economic policy but that he favors Wall Street’s next quarter more than the lives of your parents and grandparents.