What will history say about this pandemic and the way our leaders coped with it? In the five months remaining before the election, if the rate of death and infection goes down sharply, the economy will continue to re-open and both voters and historians will credit President Trump, for all his shortcomings and distractions, with effective leadership.
If, however, deaths continue at a rate of 1,000 a day or, even worse, we see a “second wave” of autumn infection, there will be irresistible pressure for new lockdowns and quarantines and the Trump presidency may be judged a failure.
The idea that leaders must prioritize either economic recovery or public health is a delusion: if our health suffers, the economy suffers with it, but if the pandemic comes under control, business can begin to recover. Either way, those who dismissed the current crisis as merely a hoax will be utterly discredited when the histories are written.