THE GREATEST PRESIDENTIAL HEALTH CRISIS since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981 has scrambled everything from the campaign to the financial markets. Some very early observations:
1. Donald Trump has the best health care in the world, and odds favor him surviving this, despite his age and obesity.
2. Since masks were mocked and rarely used in Trump’s inner circle, it’s likely that more cases will surface.
3. There will be an inevitable focus on the line of succession — first, obviously,
is VP Mike Pence; next comes Nancy Pelosi.
4. While we expect Trump to recover, the presidential campaign will be altered. Will Joe Biden suspend his activities?
5. Trump desperately wanted to change the subject away from the pandemic; his Supreme Court pick could have done that. Now Trump’s handling of the virus will dominate the campaign.
6. The virus is still very much alive, without an imminent vaccine, and this will renew the debate about re-opening everything from schools to restaurants.
7. This crisis could renew efforts to pass a pandemic relief bill; the economy is at risk of flattening if there isn’t legislation.
8. For the financial markets, which hate uncertainty, fixed income looks like a safe haven for now.
9. Could the election be postponed? Still very unlikely. The upcoming presidential debates on Oct. 15 and 22 could be postponed.
10. Does this change the election outlook? If Trump survives with grace, as Reagan did in 1981, it could help him. But we still think Biden will win narrowly.
BOTTOM LINE: As we write this, before 6 a.m., much is unclear. We suspect that this crisis will persist for many days as the pandemic infects Washington. The dominant issue, by far: is the President symptomatic?