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March 14, 2020 | Your Guide to Surviving A Crisis

James Corbett

James Corbett is an editorial writer for The International Forecaster, the bi-weekly e-newsletter created by the late Bob Chapman.

I was going to start off this week with a recap of the craziness that unfolded in recent days as full-on pandemic panic set in in the United States, but leave it to Twitter to come up with the pithiest summary: “What a year this last half hour has been.”

That’s one way of capturing the shock that many are experiencing right now. But more enlightening still are the responses to that tweet.

“Understatement of the year,” one user replied, adding that “Every time you click [refresh], something unbelievable has happened. Literally every second.”

Another user responded that “I have a friend who just shut everything off and went out into nature for a day because it was all going to be there when they came back.”

Observed yet another: “So much has happened this evening, my mind is literally spinning….I can’t keep it straight, and the market opening is 11 hours away…”

So what has got the Twitterati’s heads spinning so furiously? A torrent of news about coronavirus that hit the American news media like a tsunami this past week, that’s what.

Like the suspension of the NBA, NHL, NCAA Championships and just about every other major sporting event you can think of.

Or the shut down of numerous college campuses (including on-campus housing), which is already leading to riots.

Or the announcement that this or that celebrity has tested positive for the virus.

Or, oh yeah, the worst Wall Street crash since the Black Monday event that led to the creation of the Plunge Protection Team. And the impending shutdown of New York City. And the potential closing off of  international borders.

You know, that kind of stuff.

Of course, every crisis has its silver lining: The producers of some of the most risible late night garbage, including Fallon, Colbert and Meyers, have announced they’re suspending their shows for the rest of the month!

Yes, it has been a week of non-stop, wall-to-wall, over-the-top news that is enough to make even the sturdiest of information warriors feel queasy. It’s not easy to look over the precipice of panic and not feel some vertigo from the view.

It’s at times like these that people start worrying about their survival, and not without reason. Even if, as the cooked government numbers seem to indicate, you have nothing to fear from SARS-CoV-2 unless you’re an octogenarian with a lung condition, there are still the very real martial law lockdowns and supply shortages and economic collapses to be concerned about.

Whatever your thoughts on what is and isn’t really happening here, there no doubt that we’re heading into a profound and long-lasting economic crisis, or that we’re facing a dramatic change in the way we live our lives. And even the slowest of the slow understand by now that we’re about to see a massive power grab by governments the likes of which could scarcely have been imagined at the start of the year.

Everyone is going to be fighting for your attention as things continue to get crazier. They’ll want you to listen to this and watch that and inform you how VITAL it is for you to understand this latest piece of news.

But it is OK to unplug from this stream of information when you feel it necessary. In fact, maybe it will be necessary to do so to maintain your sanity and your perception of the world during this chaotic period.

In the end, perhaps the Twitter user’s friend “who just shut everything off and went out into nature for a day because it was all going to be there when they came back” was on to something after all.

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March 14th, 2020

Posted In: The International Forecaster

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