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US Virus Plan Anticipates 18-Month Pandemic and Widespread Shortages – NYT

The New York Times has reported that the federal government plan to combat the coronavirus warned policymakers last week that a pandemic “will last 18 months or longer” and could include “multiple waves,” resulting in widespread shortages that would strain consumers and the nation’s health care system.

Key notes

  • The 100-page plan, dated Friday, the same day President Trump declared a national emergency, laid out a grim prognosis for the spread of the virus and outlined a response that would activate agencies across the government and potentially employ special presidential powers to mobilize the private sector.
  • Among the “additional key federal decisions” listed among the options for Mr. Trump was invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950, a Korean War-era law that authorizes a president to take extraordinary action to force American industry to ramp up production of critical equipment and supplies such as ventilators, respirators and protective gear for health care workers.
  • “Shortages of products may occur, impacting health care, emergency services, and other elements of critical infrastructure,” the plan warned. “This includes potentially critical shortages of diagnostics, medical supplies (including PPE and pharmaceuticals), and staffing in some locations.” P.P.E. refers to personal protective equipment.
  • “State and local governments, as well as critical infrastructure and communications channels, will be stressed and potentially less reliable. These stresses may also increase the challenges of getting updated messages and coordinating guidance to these jurisdictions directly.”
  • The plan, which was unclassified but marked “For Official Use Only // Not For Public Distribution or Release,” was shared with The New York Times as Mr. Trump escalated his efforts to curb the spread of the virus. After weeks of playing down the seriousness of the pandemic, saying it would miraculously disappear, Mr. Trump began shifting to a more sober tone during a news conference on Friday announcing the national emergency.
  • “The spread and severity of Covid-19 will be difficult to forecast and characterize,” the government plan said. It warned of “significant shortages for government, private sector, and individual U.S. consumers.”

FX implications

Risk-off which could see the US dollar supported which has made a valiant come back this week with the DXY taking on the 99 handle. 

 

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