2020-03-17 16:00:30 With confirmed cases of COVID-19 increasing at an exponential rate, the entire planet is in the throes of its most serious pandemic disease in a century. COVID-19 has already changed our way of life in the U.S., and the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. Hollywood has been predicting this kind of event for a long time, and viewers are turning to films such as Outbreak and Contagion on streaming services to perhaps make some sense of the new normal.

Max Brooks is one writer who’s been thinking about pandemic disease in the context of his creative work for years. In a recent Reddit AMA, the World War Z author offered his take on how the current, real-life coronavirus crisis compares to the zombie outbreak portrayed in his famous work. World War Z the novel was turned into the 2013 Brad Pitt movie of the same name, and the source material is credited with providing an accurate and well-researched account of how an uncontrolled pandemic might spread.

Brooks was cautious not to equate COVID-19 with the zombie pathogen that brought the world to its knees in his seminal work. With that in mind, he still considers the current crisis a “wakeup call” for a world ill-equipped to manage a serious pandemic.

“I think the coronavirus is as dangerous as we allow it to be. This is not the end of the world, but we need to take it seriously, implement measures to curb the spread, marshal the resources of government and industry behind a vaccine and treatment. As regular citizens, we need to think about what we can do: social distancing washing hands, avoiding crowds, and for God’s sake, stay home if you’re sick! We can’t just think about, ‘Can I get it?’, we need to think about, ‘Who can I infect?’ We have the power to turn this around, but we need to make the right choices.”

That all sounds a lot like the recommendations coming out of the World Health Organization and its domestic counterpart, the Center for Disease Control.

What Brooks realized in the course of researching World War Z is that human beings tend to be slow to rally an institutional response to a threat like COVID-19. As depicted in his book, rich countries tend to take their public health for granted. This can lead to situations like what’s unfolding in Italy. All the measures outlined by Brooks are intended to mitigate the spread of the disease at home, as a means of “flattening the curve,” and reducing the impact on our soon-to-be overburdened health care system.
Keep watching the video to see how the World War Z author calls coronavirus pandemic a ‘wakeup call’.

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