Artistic “Pandemic” during Coronavirus Epidemic: Disease-themed Films and Series

As everyone are now spending more time at home and on the Internet, artistic works featuring epidemic reality become favourable for most to figure out what’s happening. Serials depicting medical and humane motifs also signifies public concern towards the latest outbreak of the disease.

Contagion

(Contagion, Youtube)

Starting at the second day of the epidemic and ending at the very first moment of the outbreak, Steven Soderbergh told a story about how an American woman who had shook hands with a Macau chef in China unwittingly spread the ferocious pathogen back in the U.S.A. and around the world, causing 26 million death worldwide. The transmission of the virus in the movie also shares a lot of similarities with the novel coronavirus in reality.

Another fun fact to note is that the panic-buying scene in the film is also happening in real life. Citizens in Hong Kong are often caught buying toilet papers, tissues and sanity napkins in large quantity in fear of shortage. It is also reported on February 17 that three masked men robbed toilet rolls outside a local supermarket which resembled the gun robberies of food and water in the film.

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Hong Kong people clustered in Wellcomes and ParknShops to grab toilet papers and sanity pads. Credit: Internet

The movie hit No.8 on iTunes download charts in Hong Kong last week.

Flu

Kim Sung-Su, a Korean movie director, took back a terrifying strain of H5N1 in Bundang, Seongnam to his film which killed the infected in 36 hours.

After two smugglers discovered a container filled with dead stowaways due to bird flu and the only survivor escaped to the downtown area, the sicknesses quickly hit the whole city through sneezes and coughs. Unlike the novel coronavirus, people would get red rashes on their skin as an indication of the infection and vomit blood until death.

In this movie, every coughing and sneezing shot was in extreme slow motion and featured to point out the rapid spread and mutation of the illnesses. It also highlighted the significance of putting on masks if there is an epidemic breaking out to prevent any potential public infection.

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Everybody wears mask to prevent potential infection publicly in MTR in Hong Kong. Credit: Joey

To protect the surviving rights of infectious people confined in infectious districts, or to kill them all to assure that no one would be infected subsequently was the biggest issue faced by the Korean president. He finally chose to save them opposing the order of World Health Organisation(WHO) representative.

ER Doctors

The TV series filmed different clinical cases encountered by emergency physicians at Peking University First Hospital. And episode 26 perfectly replicates the reception of the first infectious patient of another kind of novel coronavirus and subsequent measures conducted by the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

Not only the symptoms but also the incubation periods fit with the characteristics of the novel coronavirus spreading nowadays.

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China CDC is examining the newly-discovered virus to be novel coronavirus on the spot in the episodes. Credit: Tencent Video

What’s different from the real situation is that fortunately, the virus in the series has been tested to rule out the possibility of human-to-human transmission. Front-line doctors and nurses having intimate contact with patients all showed negative results in nucleic acid testing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), stated earlier that “we are nearly at the brink of a pandemic”. Similarly, WHO claimed that spreads of the virus are likely to continue in the following weeks.

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South Koreans are waiting in line outside shops to buy masks due to serious outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Many regions other than Hong Kong and mainland are reporting more cases in March. Credit: Now News

Therefore, these episodes are meaningful in providing an avenue for people to attain basic knowledge about the disease clinically as it constructs a basic outline of arduous treatment. Meanwhile, respects are raised for those willing to sacrifice themselves in these difficult times.

Copyright of this TV drama has been donated to a variety of video platforms and television stations, which has helped with the click rate and views in both Hong Kong and the mainland.

In light of the strict quarantine rules, people tend to seek substitutes for the horrible happening on the internet to release their tension, making movies the most suitable for collective emotional resonance.

Featured image by Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Written by Joey Tang

Hello, this is Joey, a year 2 student in the University of Hong Kong studying journalism. Always read, write and watch movies in leisure time. Passionate about having real-life working experiences and planning to do some internships this year. Also interested in fashion, pop culture and photography. A summer program in LSE last year made her determined in choosing marketing as her second major. Glad to work together!

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