The most popular movie of the last two years, the thriller “Contagion”, which was released in 2011, looks eerily similar to our current life. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns, the film is about the spread of a virus that is transmitted when sick people touch contaminated surfaces. Later in the film, the efforts of the World Health Organization to detect and control the disease, and what has been done to stop the spread are told.
There are many similarities between Covid19 and the fictitious MEV-1 virus in the film. The place where the coronavirus first appeared was probably a “wet market” in Wuhan, China. The final scene of the movie “Contagion” reveals that the virus “MEV-1” originated from a pig eating a piece of banana dropped by a sick bat in China. In short, bats are the source of the two viruses (Covid19 and MEV-1) that caused outbreaks in China. Also, some of the symptoms of the two viruses are the same such as fever and cough. Both viruses have spread all over the world, and schools-airports, etc. were closed; it was compulsory to wear masks, people were expected to follow social distancing rules, and were warned to avoid touching surfaces outside. People did not trust WHO statements. In some countries, there was a hospital shortage and patients were cared for in big gyms. In addition, scientists immediately started vaccination studies.
There are some differences between the fictitious MEV-1 virus in the movie and Covid19. Naturally, the movie is a bit more exaggerated. The chaos and running out of market products (food, diaper, etc.) in some countries were not as horrible as in the movie. Also, the fictitious [MEV-1] virus in the movie is a virus that infects the lungs and brain, causing foaming in the mouth, seizures, cerebral haemorrhage, and death. However, the symptoms of the coronavirus are things like loss of taste or sense of smell, or diarrhea. The mortality rate of the MEV-1 virus is about 25% – 30%, while the mortality rate among Covid-19 patients is between 1.8% and 3.4%.
The screenwriter consulted the World Health Organization while writing the screenplay for the film and contacted various scientists. It’s a really well-studied Hollywood movie. I like it a lot. When I experienced the first week of the pandemic, I was a little scared of experiencing the same things. Although it has a lot of similarities with the coronavirus, our situation has never been as bad as in the movie. I hope we can get over these days soon and return to our normal life.