‘Contagion’: how the movie 2011 predicted epidemic of coronavirus

Released in 2011 movie “Contagion” never became a blockbuster. Despite a stellar cast (in the film played by Matt Damon, Jude law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Michael Douglas), the picture at the box office took in that year, only 61-e a place in the world. About it writes BBC.

'Заражение': как фильм 2011 года предсказал эпидемию коронавируса

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But now the picture appeared in the list of the most downloaded movies from the iTunes Store in the US, and in Google the number of search queries containing the name of the movie is breaking all records.

If in December when we first heard about the emergence of new coronavirus in China, according to Warner Bros, the film was only 270 place in their directory’s popularity, it is already three months “Contamination” behind the series about Harry Potter.

And all this — thanks to the coronavirus and remarkable similarity of the plot of the film a decade ago with the events developing in real life.

Life repeating the movie

In the film, businesswoman, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is killed by a mysterious and deadly virus that caused a worldwide panic, which she had contracted in China.

The relationship with China is just one of the many historical Parallels between the movie and reality, and this is why people lately with great interest, rushed to review this movie.

Fueled interest in the film itself Gwyneth Paltrow, published in Instagram your photo in the mask during a transatlantic flight 26 Feb.

“I was in this film, wrote the actress, which has almost 7 million subscribers, so keep calm, refrain from shaking hands, wash your hands often”.

Find the difference

In fact, the Parallels with reality in this film is impressive.

The heroine, played by Paltrow, shaking hands infected with the virus MEV-1 in Hong Kong from the chef, who cooked the pork, and the unfortunate pig, in turn, were infected by bat.

The woman returns home to the US, becomes sick and soon dies. Dies and her son, but the husband, played by Matt Damon, is resistant to this infection.

In reality, experts believe, infection in Wuhan has begun after in December, the virus has crossed the species barrier and transmitted from animals to humans.

And it is very likely that, as in the case of the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003, the primary source of the virus was a bat, and then through other animal intermediaries, he moved to the man.

In the film, such animals was a pig, but who experts have linked the epidemic with the markets of the game in Wuhan.

As the true strain of the coronavirus Covid-19, a fictional virus spreads by close contact or touching infected surfaces.

All in fact

And cinematic, and real diseases affecting the respiratory tract, however, MEV-1 is a mutation of the real-life Nipah virus, which belongs to a different family than the Covid-19.

The current outbreak is far less deadly than a screen. In the film, the characters often mention the level of mortality in 25%, while mortality from Covid-19, according to the who, is in the range of 3.4%.

In the film, MEV-1 for the month kills 26 million people around the world. The number of victims of coronavirus in four months from the beginning of the outbreak in China has not yet reached 7 million people.

Yet comparable in scale with the cinematic epidemic remains the only Spanish woman in 1918-1920 claimed over 50 million lives.


When the film an outbreak of the virus, officers of the sanitary-epidemiological intelligence get the job to identify and isolate the infected.

In the course of action the city of Chicago is in the quarantine zone that closely resembles the real developments in China, where whole cities were quarantined.

In an attempt to cope with an outbreak of coronavirus on the same path and went to Italy.

The fear of a Domino effect

The surge of interest in “Contagion” was very surprised the author of the script by Scott burns.

In an interview with Fortune magazine, he confirmed that the filmmakers had set themselves the task of showing how modern society is not prepared for such epidemics.

“The similarity between “Infection” and coronavirus slightly, accidentally and actually not so important, burns said. — More importantly and more precisely was the public reaction, the spread of fear and the Domino effect.”

Probably burns in the first place meant one of the heroes of the film, blogger Alan Krumwiede keen on conspiracy theories.

Krumwiede, played by Jude law, unfounded rumors about the virus and promotes treatment that actually helps.

In reality, the retail sales giant Amazon has recently announced that it has blocked more than a million deals, because the sellers falsely claimed that their product is able to prevent infection or to cure Covid-19.

Famous American televangelist Jim Bakker this week I also ran into problems with the authorities of the state of new York after began to advertise soft silver as the cure for the virus.

An outbreak of coronavirus also caused the flood of false news and rumors that the virus was allegedly developed as a biological weapon.

Even a writer burns was at the center of one of the conspiracy theories.

In an interview with New York Times he said that in social networks he is accused that he is a secret organisation which rules the world.

“Most of all I was struck by how the spread of misinformation can be as wide and dangerous as a virus,” he said.

Scientific credibility

The surge of interest in “Contagion” can be partly explained by the fact that burns tried to give the film maximum scientific validity.

Working on the script, he consulted with leading virologists and epidemiologists, including who experts.

And they scared him real hard.

“When I talked to experts, they stressed that the epidemic is not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when,” admitted burns.

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