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Global markets weigh fallout from Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis


Many Americans awoke to news that President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for COVID-19. Trump’s diagnosis triggered a sell-off in stocks and oil and a surge in demand for traditional safe haven assets such as gold and bonds today, Reuters reported.

“The President of the United States has got a disease which kills people. People are de-risking because of that,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone, a global broker based in Melbourne, Australia. 

But where investors go from here depends, to a large degree, on how the U.S. president copes with a disease that has killed more than a million people around the world. “This is a new uncertainty in a world which is mixed-up already, which is not the best,” said Chris Bailey, a European strategist at Raymond James.

The news prompted investors to prepare for a period of heightened volatility, with most agreed that markets will remain on edge for the foreseeable future.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the estimated fatality rate for COVID-19 at age 75 is about 4.2%, based on a study by scholars from Harvard University and Dartmouth College; Trump is 74. The researchers used results from 28 studies that tracked antibodies for the new coronavirus, as well as five countries that have engaged in comprehensive tracing of COVID-19 cases, to estimate the infection-fatality rate, which they found rises exponentially with age.

Dr. Vin Gupta, a medical adviser to MSNBC, stated this morning that the diagnosis of presidential adviser Hope Hicks “should have raised alarm bells” about the activities of both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and his staff in attending campaign fundraising events this week. He said it’s critical that contact tracing take place to ensure individuals who may have been exposed are tested and quarantined. 

Pence, who this morning tested negative for Coronavirus, on Thursday spoke in Des Moines at an event for the Family Leader, one of Iowa’s most prominent groups for religious conservatives. Pence was joined by other prominent conservatives, including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell. The event followed a Make America Great Again event in Council Bluffs. 

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