While we still have 40 days left in this incredibly weird year, the two subjects that dominated, and continue to dominate our lives, are the coronavirus and, at least in the US, the presidential election. Both of these are “black swan” events. There hasn’t been a pandemic as widespread as this one in a century. And while there have been disputed election results, we’ve never seen a president simply refuse to accept a defeat and attempt a coup (with the virus as a significant back drop).
The coronavirus caused a worldwide pandemic that disrupted life around the world, killed or maimed countless people, shut down entire industries, etc. No one could have predicted this, even a year ago. However, way back in February and March, once it became clear that the virus was as communicable and virulent as we all feared, the path of this virus has been incredibly predictable. Immediately, there were epidemiologists on tv and online that basically told us that there would be numerous waves, social fatigue with groups of people unwilling to continue with preventative measures, the inability to get back to normal without a vaccine; all predicted. It was even pointed out that the deadliness of the virus would fall over time as the weaker strains would overtake the deadlier ones, and that, without a vaccine, it would potentially become endemic.
Similarly, well before election season, there were numerous articles and editorials that outlined nightmarish scenarios if the president were to lose the election. These predictions were driven by combining the president’s own words with his psychological profile. While there were a variety of ultimate outcomes offered, they all accepted the premise that this president would refuse to admit defeat.
To me, it’s amazing that we’re living through such unprecedented events, and yet that their progress has been so predictable. Anyone else?