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Animal Scene - 2021-11-01

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WHAT’S WRONG WITH PANDEMIC FILMS?

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

By KISHA ALEENA ABUDA, MA

The sun is out, the sky is blue. There’s a family having a picnic. The children run around while the parents drink lemonade. All of a sudden, one of the kids fall down to the grass. Another starts convulsing. They are brought to the hospital, where the parents find out to their horror that many other children are also being rushed to the emergency room. They find themselves in a state of panic. Breaking news on the television blasts through the hallways: There’s a virus going around in the city. The program is interrupted by a government announcement. A scientist is seen explaining the already chaotic situation. A virus is reported to have broken out of a facility. The virus seems to be spreading like wildfire, and its containment is the primary goal. Amid the chaos in the hospital, a lone nurse continues to watch as the doctor on TV stands corrected: The virus comes from a wet market implicated in the slaughter of wild animals. Does this scene sound all too familiar? At a glance, the scenario seems to be a narration of how the coronavirus pandemic emerged. But really, it could’ve been a template for any other pandemic movie. I’ve watched way too many films showing how one infected individual could spread a fatal sickness in a matter of hours, and some of them have become quite popular. If this were the case, then why do many of us still feel like we haven’t learned from the things we’ve watched? Many of us know how disasters start. In my previous column, I observed how in The X-files, bad things happen when people mess with nature. There’s also one thing we need to understand: The situation gets worse whenever we ignore the science. Ironically, the science is the most obvious solution amidst the chaos. It is, metaphorically, the Elephant in the room.

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