CDC

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, who apparently moonlights as an epidemiologist, assured America that a second wave of COVID-19 is not in the cards.

He may be right.

Unfortunately the first wave of coronavirus isn't finished with the US yet as 23 states report a spike in the virus and the country on June 23 suffered its biggest one-day jump in cases (35K) since April.

True to form: President Trump is now frantically looking for a new target to blame for the spread, a move designed to cover up his own fault in failing to prepare the country in January for the impending outbreak.

At first, he blamed China and returned to the racist "Kung-Flu" term during his disastrous "rally" in Tulsa. He's also has trotted out the World Health Organization for blame, saying it was somehow in cahoots with China and guilty of withholding valuable scientific data from the US. That didn't gain much traction.

Politico reports that Trump is now teeing up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the fall guy for the 120K COVID-19 deaths in the US.

He's especially upset with how the CDC is calculating the state-by-state death toll from COVID-19 because every fatality reminds Americans of Trump's failure to come to grips with the public health emergency, diminishing his re-election bid.

Ironically, the CDC headquarters in Atlanta was the site of one of Trump's worst photo-ops, the one where he wore a red "Keep America Great" hat, played scientist, took a bow for controlling the virus and bashed critics.

He also unleashed the Big Lie about how anyone wanting a COVID-19 test could get one. It's been all downhill for the president since that appearance.

Trump, who wants to pull the plug on COVID-19 testing to keep the numbers down, can't be too pleased with CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield telling Congress the pandemic is “the greatest public health crisis our nation and world have confronted in a century.” 

The American public has caught on to the president as the New York Times/Sienna College poll released June 24 found that 58 percent of respondents disapprove of Trump's handling of the pandemic, 38 percent approve.

And despite assurances from Dr. Kudlow, 57 percent of Americans think the worst is yet to come. Fasten your seatbelt. 

COVID-19 has infected American brands in the eyes of many Europeans, according to research from Morning Consult, which found that 40 percent of consumers in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France have a less favorable opinion of US brands since the pandemic.

That decline has led a drop-off in Europeans buying US brands, opting instead for more local ones or private/store label products.

Aggressive PR spending by consumer packaged goods companies will be needed to reboot the image of US brands in Europe during the post-COVID-19 era.

Hats off to Barri Rafferty for her decision to quit the CEO spot at Ketchum for a corporate communications gig at scandal-ridden Wells Fargo.

She probably got out just in the nick of time as Omnicom chief John Wren tightens the screws on its PR properties.

In announcing Rafferty's rise to the helm, Ketchum boasted that she was the first female leader of a global 5 PR firm.

But who knows? The firm has long boycotted the O'Dwyer rankings, which require CPA attested-to financials.

Despite the Ketchum hoopla about Rafferty's elevation to the CEO slot, her two and a half year reign was a "cup of coffee" compared to predecessors Rob Flaherty (five years), Ray Kotcher (12 years) and Dave Drobis (six years). She's being replaced by North American president Mike Doyle. 

Rafferty said she's leaving Ketchum because she wants new challenges and the chance to participate in a transformation project.

But no firm holds a candle to Ketchum, which hadn't exactly knocked it out of the ballpark under Rafferty, when it comes to challenges and transformation. 

Ketchum is in the midst of a major cost-cutting overhaul and Omnicom just merged its Brussels operation with Porter Novelli.

Rafferty certainly left Doyle a full plate.

At Wells, Rafferty will report to Bill Daley, vice chairman. He's a tough taskmaster, as well as former US secretary of commerce and chief of staff to president Obama

We wish her all the best.