The Trump Swagger is being tested by the coronavirus. US President Donald Trump was perilously dismissive about the virus in the early cycle of the outbreak when damage was mostly limited to China. Now, more than 4,000 Americans are infected with Covid-10 and as many as 85 people have died. On Monday, the president ordered the enforcement of strict guidelines for the next 15 days.

Trump also said the social upheaval from the coronavirus outbreak would last well into July-August. Maybe even beyond that. The late admission came even as the economic costs of the coronavirus outbreak started spiralling. The president, a germophone himself, was eerily dismissive of the virus once. That has changed now. "We'll see what happens but they think August, could be July ... Could be longer than that," Trump said at a White House media briefing.

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Tumbling stock markets

The bloodbath resumed on Wall Street on Monday, with the financial markets suffering their worst plunge since 1987. Trump has always tied the stock market fortunes with his political luck. He has boasted time and again about the positive impact his regime brings to the financial markets. But now the coronavirus outbreak is potentially upsetting Trump's apple cart. The S&P 500 index has lost nearly 30 percent from its peak on February 19. It is worth noting that the S&P 500 index had registered a 58 percent rise under Trump. Now, all that has been rolled back by the raging virus.

US stocks
A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States - File photo IANS

Fears of looming recession

If the virus outbreak continues to hold the world economy to ransom for a continued period of time, the markets will tumble even further. With most of the Wall Street gains evaporating, Trump will have little financial muscle to brag about -- which plainly means his re-election bid will run into an uncharted path. Trump himself addressed the recession fears on Monday. The President noted that a recession is possible but that the country will rebound. We're not thinking in terms of recession, we're thinking in terms of the virus ... The market will take care of itself," he added.

Coronavirus status as of 16 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 16 March, 2020 GISAID

Bookies say Biden races past Trump

The financial turmoil and social upheaval from the coronavirus have unsurprisingly given the edge to Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden in the November election. A few weeks ago, more precisely up until the Super Tuesday, a Trump victory in November was a higher probability, if not a foregone conclusion. But that has changed too.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden Wikimedia Commons

As per the latest calls by the bookies, Trump is no longer the favourite; Biden is building consistent lead above the President. "Trump's chance of winning the U.S. presidential election have recently drifted in a way like it has not before, which is likely as a result of the handling of the coronavirus outbreak," Alex Donohue, a betting industry analyst told Yahoo Finance.

"For the first time since we opened a betting market on the 2020 Presidential Election, a candidate has overtaken Donald Trump as the favorite," oddsmaker Paddy Power said on Monday.