White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Monday that a “second wave” of coronavirus cases isn’t coming and that lawmakers will likely develop another stimulus package to support the economy by the end of next month.
Asked by CNBC’s Becky Quick how he’s thinking about resurgences of Covid-19 cases in select states across the country, Kudlow said he isn’t too concerned.
“There is no second wave coming. It’s just hotspots. They send in CDC teams, we’ve got the testing procedures, we’ve got the diagnostics, we’ve got the PPE. And so I really think it’s a pretty good situation,” said Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council and chief advisor to President Donald Trump.
“Actually, I think nationwide the positivity rate is still quite low, well under 10%,” Kudlow added.
His comments to “Squawk Box” came after the U.S. reported more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday and Saturday, the highest daily totals since May 1, per Johns Hopkins University data. New cases are rising in states in the South, West and Midwest, including Florida and South Carolina, which both last week notched their third consecutive day breaking single-day records.
Health officials have warned that upswings in new cases appear clustered among younger people who are flocking to bars and social gatherings. The World Health Organization on Friday warned that the pandemic has entered a “new and dangerous phase” as the disease accelerates in new locations globally and rises in locales that have begun to ease protective rules.
But Kudlow reiterated that the resurgence in the national numbers is concentrated in a handful of “hotspots” including Florida, Arizona and Nevada, and isn’t worried about a broader return of the virus.
“There are some hotspots: we’re on it. We know how to deal with this stuff now, we’ve come a long way from last winter,” he said.
His comments appeared to contradict those of White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, who told CNN on Sunday that the administration is, in fact, preparing for a comeback in the disease.
“We are filling the stockpile in anticipation of a possible problem in the fall. We are doing everything we can beneath the surface, working as hard as we possibly can,” Mr. Navarro told CNN. “You prepare — you prepare for what can possibly happen. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but of course you prepare.”
Kudlow also discussed the odds of another fiscal stimulus package from Congress and the White House.
While no final decisions have been made as to the content of any bill, it’s “highly likely” that the House, Senate and White House will coordinate on some form of economic relief after the July recess, he added.
Kudlow listed a number of items Trump has publicly mentioned as possible items in a future economic support bill.
“Things the president has talked about publicly: He has talked about a payroll tax holiday for the workforce, he’s occasionally talked about capital gains tax relief,” Kudlow said.
“He wants to help out with some form of tax relief. Restaurants, entertainment, athletic contests, things of that sort,” he added. “We want to help out the tourism business, which has been hurt very badly. We also want to reward people who are re-employing, who are going back to work.”
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