IIUSA Member Perspectives: “Psychology of a Pandemic: EB-5 Lessons to be Learned from COVID-19”

This is a member perspective and the views of the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of IIUSA. The article, Psychology of a Pandemic is based on a special episode of EB-5 Investment Voice, which is the first Podcast series focuses on the U.S. EB-5 visa and foreign direct investment.

Psychology of a Pandemic: EB-5 Lessons to be Learned from COVID-19

by Mona Shah, Esq. and Rebecca Singh, Esq.; Mona Shah & Associates Global

Historically, responses to pandemics have followed a pattern—from initial denial to panic and anxiety, to a period of adjustment and, finally, the establishment of a new normal. What is a new normal for EB-5? Will we see EB-5 investors exhibit counter-cyclical investment behavior? Will this new normal drive investors away from traditional hospitality projects towards businesses such as pharmacy, technology, and transportation? Or will COVID-19 drive EB-5 investors away from at-risk projects for good? In a search for an answer, an obvious course appeared to be a study of present EB-5 projects at the height of the lockdown.

During this unprecedented time, we interviewed 14 regional centers and project developers from around the US to discuss how EB-5 projects are coping with the sudden economic downturn as a result of the pandemic. Throughout this article, readers will discover lessons learned from a range of industries as regional centers and project developers provided insight into surviving or thriving in the midst of COVID-19. For a more in-depth discussion, see the podcasts on EB-5 Investment Voice: Regional Centers and Projects Impact & Insight On COVID-19 and NuRide Transportation: New Age Medicine In The Time Of Corona.


“Epidemics start at a moment in time, proceed on a stage limited in space and duration, follow a plot line of increasing revelatory tension, move to a crisis of individual and collective character, then drift toward closure.”

– Dr. David S. Jones, Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard University

This drama is now playing out with Covid-19. Dr. Jones argues that “epidemics put pressure on the societies they strike. This strain makes visible latent structures that might not otherwise be evident. As a result, epidemics provide a sampling device for social analysis. They reveal what really matters to a population and whom they truly value.”

In a pandemic, media coverage is inescapable. As COVID-19’s effects impact everyday life and affect international tensions, appetite for coverage has grown exponentially – saturating an individuals’ experience of the world around them. Scholar Nancy Tomes explored how a virus or disease becomes ‘newsworthy’ and thus takes hold in the public’s imagination.3 Media coverage inevitably affects consumer reaction and here, the consumer is the EB-5 investor. Will consumer reaction, perhaps showing counter-cyclical behavior eventually manifest itself in US businesses and EB-5 projects?


Counter-cyclical or defensive industries are those that do well in economic downturns, since demand for those products and services do not depend on a buoyant economy. Often, it is a niche industry whose financial performance is negatively correlated to the overall state of the economy…

…Continue Reading


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