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The Swine Flu may end up not being much more than "the flu," but stay prepared with back up plans for schools, day care, and even groceries "just in case." People can be fickle and hard to predict as to what leads them to decide whether something is worth panicking over or not.

Below is an except from this month's MoodCompass:
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Last month there was an indication of an “unexpected ‘extreme event’ on a global scale.” It was somewhat of a puzzle for us, as the effects on the government appeared to be extreme, yet there was no indication of a stock market crash or heightened geopolitical concerns. If it wasn’t the economy, a war, or a terrorist attack, what could possibly put the U.S. government into such a tizzy? As events unfolded during the month, the swine flu scare was the best fit for this “extreme event.” While we had cited the beginning of the event as likely to be the week of the 13th, the crisis point indicated by our U.S. government chart was April 24-27, exactly where the flu made U.S. (and world) headlines.

As of this writing, there is a downplaying of the seriousness of this flu by the World Health Organization. While its trivialization may or may not end up being a correct assessment, it is important to notice that the alert level is still being maintained at 5. While we are not public health or epidemiology experts in any sense of the word, there are some signals in our social mood and perception charts that encourage continued vigilance for the time being. 1) The global context for the week of May 4 is one of denial of the full extent of a very serious situation. 2) There are indications of a situation that is seen as extremely serious by U.S. society mid to late month with concurrent panic on a global scale. 3) While there may be economic ramifications, the situation does not appear to be primarily economic.

Of course, this is a new month, and there could be completely new problems that fulfill these criteria. The concern is that a brush off of the swine flu and later resurgence of panic regarding its spread or seriousness is much too consistent with the three factors listed above to allow complacency about it just yet. Whether it ends up being “just a flu” in reality or not, panic, and its effect on our daily lives, is all about perception.

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http://anewstory.org/markets/May09_MoodCompass.pdf (current issue viewable by research sponsors only; reprinted with permission of A New Story Foundation)

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