We have been warned. Diseases like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) made us invest in global initiatives, but that was not enough. Now it has finally happened, we are experiencing another virus outbreak, and it is much bigger and more dangerous.
What is especially interesting is that many health officials, politicians, and even popular culture (movies, and novels) warned us about a potential pandemic and the dangers it entails, but we still were not prepared. These are some of the most interesting predictions and allusions to the coronavirus pandemic.
8. Soderbergh And Contagion
Many people noticed how Soderbergh's post-apocalyptic thriller Contagion (released in 2011) shares many resemblances with the current coronavirus pandemic. The virus in the movie is part bat-borne, similar to the origin speculation concerning the novel coronavirus.
Soderbergh and Scott Z Burns (the screenwriter of the movie) explored many of the social and cultural themes related to public health and scientific response, mass panic and hysteria (toilet paper alert), existentialism, and other, all relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak.
7. Psychic Powers Of Sylvia Browne
Sylvia Browne, an American author who claimed to have psychic powers, predicted an illness that attacks the lungs and would spread in the year 2020. In her book "End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World" (written in 2008), she prophesized about how the disease will spread all over our planet, and we would not be equipped to handle it, and that it will disappear soon after. Unfortunately, Sylvia Browne has passed away in 2013 and will not be around to see how accurate her predictions were.
6. The Eyes Of Darkness
This prediction is more in the domain of conspiracy theorists, but it is interesting nonetheless. Dean Koontz, an American author, wrote about a virus called "Wuhan-400", in his novel "The Eyes of Darkness," which was published in 1981. Even though he predicted the place of the origin, the coronavirus does not have a 100% mortality rate, and it is not a biological weapon, as is the virus in his novel.
5. Obama's Jeremy Konyndyk
In 2017, in his article written for The Politico, Jeremy Konyndyk, former director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, also warned about the inevitability of a pandemic similar to Spanish influenza. He criticized Donald Trump as being unprepared for such a pandemic, not respectful towards science, and unable to run an adequate National Security Council.
4. Intelligent Prediction Of The United States Intelligence Team
In both 2018 and 2019, the US Worldwide Threat Assessment warned us about a new virus (coronavirus) that transmits between humans with ease. During this threat assessment, they highlighted the vulnerability of our world when confronted with such a large-scale virus outbreak. They also warned about the negative effects it will have on our economy and international resources, as well as the possibility of the disease becoming more frequent due to globalization and climate change. As it turns out, they were right.
3. Robert G. Webster Is The Flu Hunter
Robert G. Webster, a world-renowned expert on influenza, warned humanity about the need for being prepared for an eventual pandemic in his book "Flu Hunter: Unlocking the secrets of a virus." He said that the danger of a pandemic similar to the Spanish influenza of 1918 is just a matter of time and that millions of lives would be in danger until we learn to control the virus. His work was first published in September 2018.
2. Michael Osterholm Warned Us
In his 2017 book, "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs," Osterholm gave a warning for the people of the United States, and how they are not ready for a potential new virus pandemic. And he has been doing so for more than a decade. In one of his writing in Foreign Affairs magazine, Osterholm talked about how we are living in a critical point of our history and how we need to act fast to prepare ourselves for the next pandemic.
1. The Prophecy Of Bill Gates
The notorious co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates, did not predict the coronavirus per se. Still, he did warn about the danger of a possible virus pandemic and how the world is not ready for such a scenario in his 2015 TED talk. He said there are big chances of a pandemic happening within the next ten years, due to the interconnectedness of our world today. For Gates, there needs to be the same level of preparedness for a potential virus outbreak as with the possibilities of wars.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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