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Contagion Movie – A Prediction of Coronavirus Outbreak?

Contagion movie
Amid the current Coronavirus pandemic, I have read on the Internet that movies like Contagion (2011) and similar stories about deadly viruses are seeing a huge surge in popularity. The Contagion movie alone has made the Top 10 of most watched movies on the ITunes Movie Rental Chart.

So what exactly is the basic storyline of Contagion, and how just how many similarities can we draw from it in relation to Coronavirus?

Well, the story centres on family man Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon), whose wife Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) tragically dies from a flu-like illness, or some other virus, after returning from a business trip to Hong Kong. His young son also dies later on the same day. But Mitch himself seems immune. Thus we see a rapid spread of the deadly illness. For medical and scientific experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, several days pass before they come to grips with just how serious and deadly this new virus is. Consequently, they must first identify this type of virus, and then find an effective way of fighting it, a process that will take several months. As the viral infection spreads to millions of people worldwide, law and order begins to break down as people start to panic.

In regard to possible similarities in the Steven Soderbergh movie to the all too real threat of Coronavirus, well, in the film a bat drops a piece of a fruit, which is then eaten by a pig. That pig is then slaughtered for consumption, resulting in the virus being passed on to humans. Scientists believe that the coronavirus may also have come from bats. Apparently, the winged creatures have high traces of viruses in their saliva.

So is the virus in Çontagion real? Well, although it IS plausible, it is not actually real as such. Experts have, however, pointed out parallels with bird and swine flu. The virus’s characteristics are based on the Nipah virus. The movie’s script was actually rewritten to focus on a hypothetical virus that sprang from Hong Kong,

So there you have it. Despite any fears you may be harbouring about possible similarities between the movie and the current Coronavirus pandemic, please take comfort from the fact that it IS, after all, just a MOVIE. Remember: the virus in the movie (as is often the case with these fictious plagues) spread much faster than the real thing, as well as caused way more fatalities. So, rather than allow the film to freak you out, just enjoy it for what it is.

Stay safe, everybody, and let us hope that his horrible Coronavirus outbreak passes soon.

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Alan Toner
March 2020