In the day following news that President Trump has tested positive for COVID-19, the administration has not produced any reliable experts to inform the public about the president’s condition. Instead — in a disturbing counter-indicator — it sent out Lawrence Kudlow, who told Fox News that the president has a “very moderate case.”
Kudlow developed a specialty over his career of making absurdly terrible predictions in service of his undying devotion to supply-side economics. During his service to Trump, he has broadened out to making all sorts of terrible predictions, even outside the normal subject matter he has devoted his career to not understanding at all. Kudlow declared in February that the United States has contained the pandemic “pretty close to airtight.” In March he lobbied against closing restaurants and stores.
Kudlow’s claim that Trump’s symptoms will be mild might turn out true. Different people have very different responses to the virus. But experts are very clear that the severity of the illness cannot be determined in its first couple days. The time to determine the severity of Trump’s illness will fall in “a window of between about eight to 12 days after symptoms begin,” STAT explains. It is far too soon to know.
The scary thing is that, while the medical odds remain highly uncertain, the historical rule of assuming any Kudlow statement will predict the complete opposite result has a strong track record. If Kudlow says it’s mild, the prognosis for Trump is extremely dire.