COVID-19 UPDATE: USA daily cases ease -1,516 to 19,785. Connecticut opening 5/20/2020 carries greater significance given heavier Wall Street presence.
COVID-19 remains a global crisis and we realize that many people need to keep up with COVID-19 developments, particularly since we are moving into the more critical stage ("restart economy"), so feel free to share our commentary to anyone who has interest.
Tuesday developments around COVID-19 were muted relative to the major events of Monday (Moderna + Powell). Surfacing to the top are the revelation President Trump has been taking HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) prophylactically and Michigan announced a new timeline to open the northern regions of the state (more vacation areas). But the "sleeper" milestone is likely the fact Connecticut (CT) is set to ease widespread restrictions on Wed 5/20/2020. Among this first phase of opening: restaurants (outdoor dining), retail + malls, hair salons, museums/zoos, and offices.
CT is the first NY tri-state to reopen and is also domicile for many financial industry players (both residents and offices). Therefore, much of Wall Street's perception of this crisis is shaped as much by NYC as it is by the widespread restrictions in Fairfield County (home to Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport and other tony suburbs of NYC area). Parks in many of the counties opened several weeks ago, but the opening for commerce is quite a milestone and could also improve the Street's perception of the state of the crisis.
As far as case data today, it was an overall improvement with daily cases down 1,516 to 19,785 but mid-week is when we usually see jumps in cases. And there was the expected churn. 5 states saw notable increases and 4 of the 5 (MD, TX, VA and GA) have eased restrictions more than the US overall. But as we discuss below, it is too early to attribute this to more than normal daily volatility caused by testing lags.
President Trump also signed a new executive order that will loosen regulations, to abet the economic recovery. In the last 50 years, President Trump is the most successful (tied with Reagan) for reducing the federal employment of regulatory staff. Our data comes from the Regulatory Studies Center of George Washington University. Under Trump's administration, total Federal Regulatory Agencies employment has fallen 0.9% annually, reversing the staff increases seen in every President since Ronald Reagan. Reagan championed de-regulation and famously de-regulated airlines in his Presidency.
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