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Early Coronavirus Blogs: Not a care in the world

Author: 
Edward Mendlowitz

This is my fifth Coronavirus blog, and they started out “without a care in the world.” Coronavirus is now ubiquitous and ever consuming. It was a Black Swan event but it also just crept up on us. It did not hit us like an explosion or a single aha moment. Here is how I documented this creeping menace in four previous blogs that started just seven weeks ago.

 

On February 27th I posted a blog about the Coronavirus being my 24th investment risk. I wrote this in all innocence not suspecting anything further than some ”official” rumblings about this illness in some foreign countries. My blog was that thoughts of a pandemic could cause the stock market to react negatively because of the uncertainty, lack of current information, misinformation, poor containment of existing cases, and a dearth of leadership to deal with this crises. I further said that the uncertainty where it will end up was questionable at that point but to consider the worst was unthinkable. I indicated that at some point we must feel confident that the virus will be contained and eradicated, and then things would return to its normal trajectory.

 

I wrote that without a care in the world.

 

Five days later on March 3rd I posted a blog giving my worst case investment strategy. What I said was pretty bleak and unfortunately some of it occurred and I pray that not all will. I also expressed that “there is still considerable uncertainty as to the threat but we seem to hear more alarming news daily about its spread. If it is contained at an early stage, then it shouldn’t cause much permanent damage to the U.S. and world economy…” I supposed some pretty bad things, but I still did not have a care in the world.

 

Two days later, on March 5, just five weeks ago, I wrote what I did two days earlier. I was at my college at 8:00am to speak to students about forensic accounting as a career track. Following that I met with a development representative and then had a leisurely lunch with two of the Withum Wealth people and three colleagues from another firm. Afterward I took a bus back to NJ from the Port Authority after taking the subway to and from Baruch College. When I got back to NJ I got into my car and drove to Teaneck to teach my course, but before then I bought a sub and ate it in my office at Fairleigh Dickinson before my class began; and of course I drove home arriving at 9:30. A long and eventful day.

 

Still not a care in the world.

 

The next day, March 4 I returned to Manhattan to meet with a client. Took the bus to and from the Port Authority and the subway back and forth.

 

Still not a care in the world.

 

That Friday I cancelled an appointment in Manhattan not wanting to have to go into NYC three days that week, and not being able to bunch the Wednesday and Friday meetings on the same day.

 

Still not a care in the world.

 

The following week I followed my usual routine going to the gym, to my office and my usual stops elsewhere. There was no class as it was Spring break that week and I also followed my usual routine including picking up a pizza Sunday night.

 

Still not a care in the world…but becoming a little skeptical.

 

That Sunday, March 15, was the last day I left my house. Been home since then. And now I have a lot of cares to be concerned about.

 

On March 19 I posted a blog about the Coronavirus being a Black Swan event. I was scared as I am sure most everyone I knew was. My hope expressed in the blog was that we were in the midst of the pandemic and not the beginning of it. That was less than a month ago.

 

The blogs document my unfolding concerns. Thinking back and remembering specifics and how I felt is a blur, but rereading the blogs shows me crystal clear how I felt and how the events arose in my mind, feelings and likely for the entire country.

 

I email clients and friends around the world and the lockdowns and feelings are universal. I know I am not alone and get somewhat comforted by signs of progress that the threat is reducing but, of course, not quick enough as far as I am concerned.

 

I now have cares I don’t like having.

 

Stay safe and well.

Edward Mendlowitz