Post 62: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…

…books and movies about pandemics.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 62. 

Is it the end of the world?

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

The genre of pandemic-related books is categorized under science fiction. Probably because it’s so unrealistic that we must use our imagination to create many of the scenarios. I don’t usually read or watch anything about science fiction because I just can’t wrap my head around it. However, I did read one book several years ago for book club called Stations 11 by Emily S. J. Mandel, which at the time seemed scary, but rather far-fetched.

Yet here we are in 2020, living during a real pandemic. It is scary and disconcerting. The virus has spread fast across the globe. The death toll is high. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed. So is this an example of life imitating art?

I began thinking about this book and how it compares to the current situation. In Stations 11, the world is hit by a virus called the Georgian flu. It is a highly contagious disease with a near-zero survival rate. The flu becomes a global pandemic with in days, wiping out most of the world’s population and, in turn, destroying the infrastructure of technology and civilization. The book does not describe the decline of civilization, but jumps to 20 years later, when the earth has become post-apocalyptic and only a few have survived by walking into the wilderness.

We also find out that there was a plane that was grounded at Toronto airport, but the passengers never disembarked; they survived and eventually left the plane and lived in the airport. They collected and preserved items from their past lives and created a “museum of civilization.”

Retrieved from

Of course, the plot is deeper than my brief description, and I do not recall too many details, but it does beg the question: how easy is it for the world to completely fall apart? Can a virus put a stop to all the infrastructure supporting the world? If we lose most of our population, and our leadership and banking system collapses, maybe we would also become desperate wilderness wonderers.

During our 2020 pandemic, as we have been sequestered in our homes, we realize what it takes to make the world economy go round. It is people. That’s it. Nothing could be possible without people. People are needed to work, make money, make things, grow food, and spend money.

Think about it – how do we acquire computers, Internet, food supply, water supply, electricity, automotive parts? Basically, you name it and people are behind its creation and administration. Even robots were designed by people.

I do not want to visualize or live in a world of mayhem and lawlessness, but I see how it can be possible. Especially when we see the armed militia storming the Michigan Capitol, threatening to kill the governor. Again, I say we need real leadership to put the kibosh on this lawless behavior.

So in conclusion, we need people to run the world, build, and create. If the pandemic does wipe out the majority of our population, we could find ourselves having to start from scratch. Let’s stop taking our lives for granted.

Will we have a happy ending?

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

I just watched the movie Outbreak, which was made in 1995 and starred Dustin Hoffman. It sure has a different meaning today than it would have had I watched it in 1995. To be honest, when the topic of movies about pandemics was proposed, I could only think of a movie about the Spanish Flu. Someone had mentioned Contagion to me a few weeks ago, but that person said she wouldn’t watch it—she was living it. I don’t know why I chose to watch Outbreak; I was surprised how many movies have been made about pandemics. Where have I been? I never heard of them nor watched them, so I can’t compare. I do know the reviews of Outbreak said the movie was totally lacking in personality and was increasingly preposterous. When I think of all the military scenes, I agree. 

However, since we have been living in this crazy world the last few months, the essence of the movie is not preposterous, but just plain scary. Could this happen? The doctors, and anyone dealing with the virus research, wore clothes like this chemical warfare suit all the time. The virus, carried by one person infected by a monkey went to a movie, and everyone in the movie theater came down with this disease within 24 hours. People were dying as they overwhelmed the hospital. They started out with flu-like symptoms. 

This is all too familiar. So scary—in 1995, I wouldn’t have believed it possible—just another story. The lies told by our government, the actions of our government, would have been unbelievable—making everyone staying inside their homes by military force. We aren’t being kept in by military force—could it come to that? 

These are all thoughts I never would have had in 1995. The movie was rated two stars. However, because of the Coronavirus, it held my attention. It also had an ET-type moment when the monkey made friends with a little girl.  Only she was its friend, and that simple act of kindness made it possible to capture the monkey and make the antibodies that saved the town.

Dustin Hoffman’s scenes in the helicopter really were preposterous, but it made for a happy ending. He got the monkey to the town. Saved his ex-wife from the virus and the whole town too. 

I am sure we will have a happy ending to #Covid 19. It might be a sappy ending to a movie, but I hope we have a happy ending too.

The end of the world as we know it

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

I was going to write about the movie Contagion, because so much of it closely resembles our current Coronavirus situation. Released in 2011, the movie is particularly chilling now that we’re living it daily in 2020.

But I’m not writing about that movie tonight. There’s another drama playing out today, and it’s not going to end anytime soon. This is a horror movie about America’s swift descent into chaos and anarchy.

I can’t get certain images (Ahmaud Aubrey’s shooting, for one) and words (“Lock her up!”) out of my head. America has become a giant petri dish of contagion, fueled by pandemic hatred, propelled by ineptitude, and noteworthy for its colossal stupidity.

Imagine this scene: A customer walks into a Target store and is asked to wear a mask. Rather than complying (or leaving), he breaks the store clerk’s arm. In the past, it was easy enough to think these types of acts of violence were isolated incidents; we could send good vibes to the clerk and say “what an idiot” about the perpetrator. And then move on. But random acts of violence have stopped being anomalies; now they are daily occurrences.

How about those Michigan protesters? Armed with assault rifles, they stormed the State Capitol and threatened to murder their governor. I don’t believe it was a case of isolated idiocy. That was no group of peaceful demonstrators, and they weren’t exercising their right of assembly. No, this one smells more like heeding a call to “liberate Michigan.”

Does a stay-at-home order (in response to the pandemic) ever justify a weaponized protest called “Judgement Day”? What should we think when people suggest that, because of restrictions on movement, Michigan’s governor be “hanged, lynched, shot, beaten or beheaded“? Was this free speech? It was not an isolated incident, and we can’t just move on. It’s not enough to call these people idiots anymore. Their threat of violence is coordinated and deliberate.

As this American movie spirals into further chaos and anarchy, here’s a prediction: it will get a whole lot worse. More people of color will be gunned down while jogging, driving, or just being. More limbs will be broken when store rules aren’t convenient to follow. The ballot box will be replaced by the ammo box. Wait until November – if we even have elections, and if they don’t turn out a happy result for the alt-right-insane, I bet we’ll see a whole lot more “Judgement Days.”

There’s just no vaccine for this shit.

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