5 Times COVID-19 Was Predicted In Popular Culture

By Victoria Simpson on March 21 2020 in Did You Know

Did books, movies, and people warn us what was coming?
Did books, movies, and people warn us what was coming?
  • In 2018, Bill Gates predicted that a global pandemic could come within ten years.
  • Self-proclaimed psychic Syliva Browne predicted an incurable pneumonia would spread around the world in 2020.
  • In the movie, Contagion, bats transmit a virus to humans, just as may have happened with COVID-19.

Throughout history, there have always been individuals who have claimed to prophesize the future. As far back as ancient Greece, priestesses and other prominent figures have been uplifted in their communities as seers and speakers of the truth. 

Whether or not the truth was spoken, it has happened. People have turned to the apparent wise words of these chosen few, in order to face uncertainty in the times that lay ahead, both on a personal and public scale. 

Alongside this, there have also been those who accidentally had a knack for seeing what major events may be coming in the world. 

Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, but for a select few, it seems to be present in foresight. 

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 will no doubt go down in history as a remarkable time, one in which humanity struggled together over the entire globe, and life changed drastically, even if only temporarily. 

Here are five pieces of pop culture that predicted this moment in time. Are the creator's prophets and priestesses? You choose.

5. The Eyes of Darkness” by Dean Koontz

Koontz was likely simply waxing his imagination when he came up with a fictional bioweapon called the “Wuhan-400”. He wrote about it in his novel, “The Eyes of Darkness”, and it was not exactly the same as COVID-19, but the idea was similar. A virus coming out of Wuhan in China would kill people en-masse. 

The difference is that the Wuhan-400 virus was imagined as a fictional bioweapon designed by the Chinese, which COVID-19 is not. The Wuhan-400 virus also was imagined to have a 100% fatality rate and COVID-19’s probably resting at about 1%, but we do not really know conclusively.

4. The Simpsons

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Again, the prediction was not precise, but Simpsons fans have taken to Twitter to point out how their favorite show predicted the force of the novel coronavirus. 

In an episode from 1993, Springfield residents were eager to buy juicers, a product that was all the rage, at the time. Factory workers in Asia making the machines in the show were shown coughing on the juicers before boxing them and shipping them to North America. 

The workers were supposed to have had “Osaka Flu”, which was then liberally spread around Springfield. 

Was it the same as the coronavirus? Sort of, but COVID-19 is from China, not Japan, and certainly did not come to us deliberately.

3. Bill Gates

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Perhaps Gates is not exactly part of modern popular culture that is transmitted via mass media to young people, a loose definition of “pop culture” offered by Lexico.com,  but he does find himself in the media so often that we all know of him. He is popular. And very well-read. Perhaps it is all this amassed knowledge that has allowed him to pose unintentionally as a COVID-19 prophet. 

Back in a 2015 TED talk, he stated that the world was not ready for the next pandemic. Later, in 2018, at a discussion on epidemics hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine, he predicted that a pandemic could occur within ten years. 

In fact, Gates went so far as to predict that a new flu, akin to that of the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 50 million people worldwide, could kill 30 million humans in just six months.

Many other top government officials and medical specialists have also warned that a pandemic was imminent. It looks like we had better take them more seriously, next time.

2. Contagion

Editorial credit: Warner Bros. / vox.com

What a perfect prediction this one was. The movie, Contagion, came out in 2011 and tells the story of a virus that comes from a bat. The infected bat drops a piece of partially-eaten fruit, which is eaten by a pig. The pig is slaughtered and eaten by humans, and you are now living the rest of the story. 

It is uncertain where COVID-19 came from but many experts suspect it also comes from bats, who have amazingly strong immune systems compared to us. Bats have a high index of viruses in their saliva, including coronaviruses, making them the ideal host.

1. End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World

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This book was written by Sylvia Browne and Lindsay Harrison in 2008 stated,

"In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments.” Sound familiar? 

Psychic Browne also stated that the illness will suddenly disappear which is unlikely, and then reappear and ten years time. And then dissolve from the planet entirely. We can only hope.

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