| Washington Wrap |

Glimmer of Hope?

The American public wants to move from living in the shadow of the virus to living with the virus

There’s a sense — based on conversations with friends, neighbors, and acquaintances — that Americans are now accustomed to the COVID-19 reality. That is, everyone keeps a respectful distance and wears a mask and gloves, but for the sake of the economy — and the country — it’s also time to get back to work.

Two factors have moved Americans to change their mindset. First, the realization that the virus will accompany us for as long as two years, until a vaccine is found. That being the case, many are proclaiming that they can put up with the guidelines for two months, but not two years. Pictures of almost full interstate flights are circulating on social media. True, airline companies force people to wear protective masks. But what does a mask help if the person seated next to you is coughing uncontrollably from Los Angeles to Boston?

Second, there’s the matter of a cure. America is placing great hopes on Remdesivir, which was approved for use by the FDA and now looks like the closest thing yet to a cure. But is it the game changer that will turn everything around? It’s too early to say, but what’s abundantly clear is that the American public wants to move from living in the shadow of the virus to living with the virus. The proof: April was the Dow Jones’ best month in 82 years. Investors are looking toward the not-so-distant future and feel confident that it will all be over very soon.

And then there’s also the president. In the past two weeks Trump has moved out of the public spotlight. He still makes frequent media appearances, but they are focused less on updates about the virus (ventilators, protective equipment, etc.) and more on his relief measures to small businesses, airline companies, and manufacturers. Trump’s team recognizes that the president hasn’t exactly mastered the science of the virus, and that every moment he spends talking about the curative powers of bleach or UV rays is a present to Joe Biden. Instead, the White House is shifting the emphasis to economic recovery. Words can sometimes create realities, and the West Wing hopes to project confidence to bolster the markets, in order to restart the economy as soon as possible, with the goal of winning votes in November.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 809)

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