Is coronavirus really a black swan event?

The coronavirus, although dangerous and scary, isn't some unpredictable event

A black swan.
(Image credit: Illustrated | oleg7799/iStock, Bulgnn/iStock, chaluk/iStock, sergio34/iStock)

The global spread of the coronavirus is making America more anxious by the day. And those deepening worries are reflected in the gyrating stock market. Both the long economic expansion and 2020 presidential race seem poised on a knife's edge. Politico reports, "Trump faces 'black swan' threat to the economy and reelection." The New Yorker puts it this way: "As Coronavirus Spreads, Stocks Fall Again and the White House Frets About a Black Swan."

But the coronavirus, although dangerous and scary, isn't some unpredictable, "Gosh, who woulda thunk it?" black swan. And employing that powerful metaphor lets governments evade their responsibility to keep us safe and avoid accountability if they fail.

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