Jun 22, 2020 - Health

Kudlow: "There is no second wave coming"

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC Monday that "there is no second wave coming" for the coronavirus pandemic, despite record daily case increases in multiple states around the country.

Why it matters: The U.S. reported more than 33,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday — the highest total since May 1 — while the surge of infections in several states is outpacing growth in coronavirus testing.

  • Kudlow's comment echoes claims from other Trump administration officials, such as Vice President Mike Pence, who argued earlier this month that concerns over a second wave of the virus are "overblown."

What he's saying: "The numbers quoted to me by the health people — I'm not the expert, they are — over the weekend, there are 37 states that have virtually no problems. There are 13 states that do have hotspots," Kudlow, who does not have a scientific or medical background, said.

  • "So, you know, there are some hotspots. We're on it. We know how to deal with this stuff now. It's come a long way since last winter — and there is no second wave coming."
  • "It's just, you know, hotspots. They send in CDC teams. We've got the testing procedures. We've got the diagnostics. We've got the [personal protection equipment]."
  • "And, so, I really think it's a really good situation. Fatality rates, incidentally — the fatality rates continue to decline. So, all in all, I think it's a pretty good situation. And, of course, reopening the economy is the key to economic growth."

The big picture: The new case increases are likely in part because younger people, for now, are accounting for a larger share of new infections, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.

  • However, the death rate for viruses tends to lag several weeks behind the infection rate as infected young people visit older family members and interact with older or vulnerable coworkers.
  • Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he believes the U.S. will not experience a second wave of coronavirus — because the country is still in the midst of the first.
  • "I'm actually of the mind right now — I think this is more like a forest fire. I don't think that this is going to slow down," Osterholm said. "Wherever there's wood to burn, this fire is going to burn, and right now, we have a lot of susceptible people."

Worth noting: Kudlow in February claimed that the U.S. had "contained" the virus "pretty close to airtight."

  • He later defended the comment, saying, "My quote then was based on the actual facts, which at the time, there were only 40 or 50 cases, and it was contained."

Go deeper: Navarro says Trump's call for less coronavirus testing was "tongue-in-cheek"

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