The rapidly deteriorating health of the financial markets is being driven by a contagion of fear and uncertainty about a global pandemic that’s infecting the economy in ways that seemed unfathomable just a month ago. Most experts now believes a U.S. recession is inevitable, with its severity the only question left to be determined. “It’s a fait accompli,” said Michael Yoshikami, CEO of Destination Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, Calif. No wonder the S&P 500 now stands roughly 30% below its peak after a mind-boggling four weeks like no other in the financial markets. The pummeling would have been even worse if not for several robust, although short-lived, rallies that were fueled by hopes that the government might come up with a financial antidote that would prevent the fallout from the corornavirus outbreak from becoming as bad as it is now. The market’s wild swings have been exacerbated by the computerized trading programs that hedge funds create to wager on the financial market’s up and downs. Those algorithms, coupled with the lightning speed of today’s computer programs, can vastly accelerate the momentum of selling frenzies, as well as seemingly irrational buying binges. Human behavior, though, is more predictable. Just as people are hoarding non-perishable groceries, hand sanitizers and other goods they need while being forced to stay at home to stem the spread of the COVID-19 disease, investors have been fleeing the stock market as they build stockpiles of cash in conservative investments viewed as safe havens in times of financial turmoil.