W. Ian Lipkin, the medical advisor of the movie “Contagion”, was confirmed positive for the coronavirus.

Lipkin is a professor and epidemiologist who is currently the dean of the University of Columbia’s Department of Infections and Immunology. Nine years ago, he was in the film Contagion directed by Steven Soderbergh as an advisor.

 w. ian lipkin
W. Ian Lipkin

Contagion (2011) has recently attracted attention again because it had “predicted” almost quite accurately the situation of Covid-19 disease which was raging around the world in early 2020.

The film quickly climbed up the charts to the top 5 in the rankings of the most searched movies and the most viewed movies on online services. Especially when “social distancing” is being applied, more people stay home to avoid the coronavirus pandemic and turn to movies.

I paid $ 12.99 to watch a 10-year-old movie,” said Barry Jenkins, director of the 2017 Oscar-winning film Moonlight. “I was very curious to see how well it would align with what is happening right now,” Jenkins said. “It was shocking. I felt like I was watching a documentary that has all these movie stars playing real people”. He added: “It scared me.”

Even in both the movie and real life, the pathogen originated in China and the disease is predicted to spread from bats. Both can spread globally and kill thousands of people by flu-like symptoms. However, one difference is that the film Contagion identifies “patient number 0” (the first person infected) is the character played by actor Gwyneth Paltrow, while in reality, the Science has not yet found the first person infected with Covid-19 and caused it to spread in many countries around the world.

 contagion
The scene of people wearing masks when going out is the same as the situation in many countries where the Covid-19 epidemic is raging

The film Contagion (2011) opened with a series of events when Beth Emhoff, a businesswoman who returned to the US after a business trip in Hong Kong (China), suddenly died of a strange disease. Just a few days later, this disease outbreak began worldwide, causing 26 million deaths.

MEV-1, the virus in the film, contains many characteristics similar to the SARS or avian influenza viruses that have been raging in the past: infection through the respiratory tract, physical contact, and rapid death. Contagion goes down the rabbit hole including the factors causing chaos and collapse in society, the scientific process to identify and describe new pathogens, responsibilities and professional ethics in the face of existing threats, limitations, and consequences in the wrong epidemic response plans.

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