In a world of trend, it is normal that a trending story makes the headlines for days and then, it becomes almost irrelevant in the public space especially the Social Media.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the news has been on the headlines for a time too long in a world of trend, which is to say that the seriousness and impact of the Coronavirus cannot be downplayed and far from the Social Media effect or the sensationalization of news. It is just simply serious.
Some days ago, I checked and also, at the time of this writing, the news of the Coronavirus is on the top ten ‘trending’ on the Aljazeera website. Not even the news of Suleimani’s death and the fear of a World War III shook the world as the outbreak of the virus.
Other than death and infections, the Coronavirus is affecting the World’s economy, with many businesses shut down and people having to work from home. We may not know how far it would take to get the world back to how it was before the outbreak, but, one truth is, history is made as it was as in The Great Recession/Economic Depression.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19, conspiracy theorists have continued to claim that certain books and movies have predicted the outbreak of the virus to prove that, indeed, the virus was man-made. We take a look at some inaccurate predictions.
MICHEL DE NOSTREDAME’S, “LES PROPHÉTIES”
The 16th Century Physician and Writer, Michel Dr Nostredame also knows as Nostradamus wrote the “Les Prophéties” which was published in 1555. Many people believe Nostradamus foretold future events. In “Les Prophéties”, the French astrologianaand physician made predictions in four-line stanzas called quatrains—942 in total
Some Conspiracy Theorists have alleged that Nostradamus predicted the Coronavirus outbreak in Century V, Quatrain 63 of “Les Prophéties” which reads,
“From the vain enterprise honour and undue complaint,
Boats tossed about among the Latins, cold, hunger, waves
Not far from the Tiber the land staine with blood,
And diverse plagues will be upon mankind.”
This so-called prediction is very weak and it would be safe to conclude that Nostradamus had no idea about the COVID-19. In fact, the only thing linkable is the mention of “Tiber”, a river in Italy. Perhaps, Nastrodamus should have seen China instead.
EDGAR ALLAN POE’S, “THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH”
Written in 1842, some people are of the idea that the book which was adapted as movie in 1964, directed by Roger Corman, predicted the Coronavirus.
Describing a fictional epidemic, Edgar wrote,
“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution,”
The Red Death bears no semblance with the Coronavirus, not even the prognosis that kills in minutes. Edgar wrote,
” The whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour”
Roger Corman’s lush 1964 movie adaptation, starring Vincent Price as Prince Prospero, fleshes out the parable-like Poe story, adding a kidnapped peasant girl and underlining the contempt the rich revelers hold for the lower classes trapped outside with the disease.
The book neither the movie has nothing with the Coronavirus. The only linkable scenario would be the fact that, while many service workers are still risking infection, those who can afford to, are stocking up on supplies and making plans to wait out the pandemic spreading outside their door.
“The building is empty,’’ one woman entering with her dog explained. “Everyone’s gone to the Hamptons.” https://t.co/MpastVUG8g
— ✨ d o d a i ✨ (@dodaistewart) March 14, 2020
WASHING YOUR HANDS & STAYING HOME
IGNORING THE PLIGHT OF THE COMMON FOLK BY THROWING A PARTY WITH YOUR RICH FRIENDS IN THE CASTELLATED ABBEY WHILE A MASKED STRANGER MOVES OMINOUSLY FROM ROOM TO ROOM
– not recommended
– sure hope that guy doesn't symbolize anything
— SparkNotes (@SparkNotes) March 12, 2020
PARTIAL FALSE CLAIMS WITH ELEMENTS OF THE TRUTH
While Nostradamus’, “Le Prophéties” and “The Masque Of The Red Death” may be far from predicting the COVID-19, there are far stronger not-totally-accurate predictions. We take a look at them.
END OF DAYS: PREDICTIONS AND PROPHECIES ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD
The idea that the book, “End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World” written by Psychic, Sylvia Browne and Lindsay Harrison predicted the Coronavirus went viral when Kim Kardashian tweeted a photo from the book.
A page in the book, though falsely attributed to Dean Koontz’s, “The Eye Of Darkness” reads,
“In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments…
Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again ten years later, and then disappear completely.”
This is a very strong prediction, although, it is not likely that the Coronavirus will ‘suddenly vanish’ as Sylvia puts it. While the world keeps looking for a cure, the COVID-19, at the time of this writing has no known cure.
Meanwhile, here are 27 predictions Sylvia got wrongly.
DEAN KOONTZ’S, “THE EYES OF DARKNESS”
Published in 1981, a page of the book was among the earliest ‘prediction’ that was spread across different social media platforms.
In the novel, a group of campers dropped dead unexpectedly. Later findings says a Chinese bioweapon was responsible.
‘‘A Chinese scientist named Li Chen defected to the United States, carrying a diskette record of China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade,’ one character explains in The Eyes of Darkness.
“They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ but it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan, and it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center. Wuhan-400 is a perfect weapon”.
While the COVID-19 was said to have originated in Wuhan, China as the book says about Wuhan-400, the Wuhan-400 disappears without a trace, a major contrast with COVID-19, which is dangerous precisely because of its lengthy period of possible transmission.
Also, Koontz’s, “Wuhan-400” originally had a name—Gorki-400—and Russian origins. When The Eyes of Darkness was rereleased in 1989, at the tail end of the Cold War, the book was updated to a Chinese threat.
The 2011 movie had gone viral online after it was linked with the Coronavirus. It has been labeled to be ‘Prophetic’.
In the movie, a fictional virus called MEV-1 hops from bats to pigs to people, quickly spreading from its Hong Kong origin point. Contagion follows a large cast of characters as they react to the spreading virus, including a CDC investigator, played by Kate Winslet, who explains how the virus spreads in terms that will be familiar to anyone paying attention to COVID-19.
While the movie may not wholly predict the Coronavirus, it is likely the most accurate movie about viral pandemics ever made, creating significant overlap with the COVID-19 scenario.
It is said that Scot B. Burns, the scriptwriter, consulted with medical experts from the World Health Organization while writing the screenplay to the pandemic thriller.
“When I started talking to experts, they all said, ‘It’s not a matter of if there will be another pandemic, it’s a matter of when,’ Burns told the Los Angeles Times in March.
“There’s nothing uncanny to me about doing research.”
DENYING CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Many fact-checking websites have been downplaying the idea of a conspiracy theory. They wave off the conspiracy theories as in Dean Koontz’s, “They Eyes Of Darkness”.
According to these websites, CNN inclusive, it is impossible that the COVID-19 is a conspiracy since scientists from China and the West have rejected the idea.
While research is on regarding the source of the virus, it is said that it likely originated from bats and was transmitted to an intermediate host before jumping to people — just like its cousin that caused the 2003 SARS epidemic.
However, recently, China is accusing the US military of bringing the Coronavirus to China with Iran doing same. US President, Donald Trump fired back by calling the COVID-19, “Chinese Virus”.
While Conspiracy Theories keep flying in the air, China and the USA are proving that the conspiracy theories cannot be easily dismissed.
Also, claiming scientists did not say it was a conspiracy makes the COVID-19 not one holds no water. Conspirators do not own up, in fact, it is very difficult that a conspiracy is claimed. For example, “The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion” written in 1903 has been said to be a forgery and, in 2020, we cannot say who the author was.
While we may not necessarily rely on scientists for a source in the midst of politics, perhaps, conspiracy theories may be as true as Chinese bat stories or the former as false as the latter.
Time may tell...
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman