I have to say, compared to the previous weeks of lockdown, it’s been a rather entertaining week. Reality TV in the form of ‘The News’ is producing some remarkable stuff. Today I’m mostly dealing with Donnie T. I mean what a week he’s had!
Now many countries have been delivering a ‘daily briefing’ – a space to update on corona cases, deaths, testing etc. But whereas major leaders have moderated their appearances (delegating otherwise to their minions), Trump has been religiously leading the US daily briefings. You have to give him credit for showing up – because he must be a busy man. It has however turned out to deliver more comedic value than actual information as he spouts lies and spars with journalists from the “Fake News Media“.
Simply put, Trump has been using the conference to boost his TV time. You are just as likely to hear updates about the wall and Trump’s relationship with Kim Jong-un (he lied about receiving a letter from the dictator) as you are about the fight against the coronavirus. It’s all about ratings; a good opportunity to show America his ‘leadership’ ahead of the Presidential Elections in November. Ratings and polls suggested Trump’s plan was actually working. He even seemed to be clued up about what was going on (a far cry from a few months ago); alas he’d throw in a few alarming curveballs. The briefings should have come attached with a health warning – listening to Trump can seriously damage your health.
A few weeks ago Trump talked about two types of anti-malaria drugs that were showing encouraging results as a treatment against the coronavirus (tests ongoing, nothing conclusive and possible dangerous side effects). Sadly some Americans died because they listened to Trump. Words matter, and people are tuning in and listening to what the US President is saying, he has huge reach.
We reached peak madness during a briefing end of last week as Trump suggested that injecting disinfectant could also be a good idea in combating Covid-19. Everyone in the briefing room was astonished, his team didn’t know which way to look, simply avoiding eye contact with the boss. Reckless behaviour that sent manufacturers and doctors scrambling to send out messages and warnings. Make no mistake, ingesting disinfectant will do harm and can kill.
Long story short, the aftermath included Trump backtracking the next day (obviously) – his comments were “sarcastic” apparently. The daily appearances have now stopped because the “Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately“. The more likely reason is that his polling numbers have dropped back to the lows of before Covid-19. All in all shocking stuff and for the best he has now been shut up, but I will miss tuning in to 5.30pm ET. Never fear, he still has Twitter to wreak havoc upon the world.
Time to end lockdown?
As I discussed last week, countries are slowly edging towards reopening. Every week that goes by, the pressure builds. I think the UK will be one of the later countries – we’ve had a lot of deaths, many which are not accounted in official stats and Boris Johnson’s ordeal with the virus will naturally lean him towards wanting to do everything to avoid a deadly second peak. Inexplicably, markets continue to edge up.
A friend alluded to the following reason – investors are terrified about the debt global governments are building up and are fleeing into equities and commodities. It actually makes sense. However holding 100% listed equities cannot be the correct allocation when we could be sliding towards one heck of a recession. Some bizarre logic, but that’s the market for you. Bonkers.
Lastly onto myself. I made some killer brownies in the last week and my ‘daily exercise walks’ have turned out to be fascinating people watching events. My favourite observation was the number of people wearing masks and gloves in their own cars. It once again shows, education is key and most people are either not listening or consuming too much crap on Twitter and YouTube. Stay safe folks and have a good week.