Readers worldwide are turning to books for distraction and comfort amidst the worry of a spreading virus, but for some it isn’t quite working.
The coronavirus outbreak is causing a lot of panic online, much of it exacerbated by click bait headlines and dramatic articles. Quite surprisingly, the news about the coronavirus has prompted many readers to jump into fictional depictions of pandemics.
While some have noticed parallels between the outbreak and The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz in 1981, another novel some have raised an eyebrow at is The Stand by Stephen King where an outbreak of a super-flu (nicknamed Captain Trips) shows some tenuous similarities to coronavirus.
The coronavirus, or Covid-19, is nothing compared to King’s fictional super-flu, of course. Covid-19 currently got an estimated fatality rate of a bit above 3 per cent, which isn’t much higher than seasonal flu and well below previous coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS. The reaction of readers is merely a bit of banter while we try not to panic about a potentially troubling viral pandemic. It is kind of what we do… Read and reflect while the world panics.
While Covid-19 is dangerous, especially for those whose health isn’t top notch, Stephen King’s fictional Captain Trips flu is far deadlier- wiping away 99.98 per cent of the world’s population. The comparisons online between the fictional and the current outbreak have been roundly dismissed by King, who took to Twitter to deny any similarities.
While King strongly denies any comparison, some of his fans disagree that there is no need to be alarmed.
How so? The virus has the capacity to kill those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly. So to diminish the significance of this outbreak is a little bit strange. On top of that we are weeks (if not months) away from developing an effective vaccination, or treatment.— Simply Chris (@chrisyoumansjr) March 8, 2020
It isn’t the virus Stephen - it is the response by those in positions of authority. Covering up the seriousness of the situation and hiding the numbers is what brings to mind the beginning of The Stand.— BDAinVA (@BDAinVA) March 8, 2020
I appreciate you but I must disagree. The virus infects plenty of people. We have no cure at the moment. There are ones who survive, for sure. But being in so many hosts will eventually give the virus a huge evolutionary boost.— Łukasz Lisak #FBPE #SilniRazem 🇪🇺🇩🇪🇮🇱 (@RundfunkEuropa) March 8, 2020