By Kaylee Brewster
While the coronavirus outbreak is causing people concern, there’s no reason to panic.
Movies have tackled the global pandemic situation many times over the years, whether it’s caused by a disease, zombies, vampires or humans turning into some kind of flesh-eating monster. These films, from completely fictional to potentially plausible, can offer us some insight into our worst fears and what it takes to be a survivor.
Have special skills
A special skill comes in real handy during a global outbreak. Even if it doesn’t save you, you may be able to use it to bargain for your life.
Say a group of individuals is planning a journey out of the infected zone; if you have the right skill you can negotiate your way out. Flying a plane appears to be the most useful. Medical abilities also are effective. You can barter for your safety and your family’s safety by agreeing to find the source of the virus and a cure.
Combat knowledge, shooting ability (for fighting zombies, vampires and other dangerous individuals) and living off the land can also help you fend for yourself in the wilderness, abandoned cities or quarantine zones.
Film examples: “World War Z,” “I Am Legend,” “Outbreak,” “Pandemic,” “The Omega Man,” “The Andromeda Strain.”
Work for the government (or be related to someone who is)
Movies have shown that the sooner you know about the outbreak, the better your chances of survival. Head honchos in the government and other agencies, such as the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, often are the first to know. If you are related to one of those official bigwigs, all you have to do is hang tight and survive long enough for Daddy to rescue you (it’s almost always a man in the movies), because he will use all his authority to rescue his child, even at the peril of the rest of the world.
Film examples: “World War Z,” “Contagion,” “The Crazies,” “Outbreak,” “Patient Zero,” “The Andromeda Strain.”
Make friends with the right people
If you don’t have special skills or are/know someone in the government, you’ve got to network. Find someone that can help you survive. While you’re at it, get them to teach you their skills. An unofficial tally of deaths in apocalyptic films shows that the person who is key to survival has a 85 percent of dying.
Just as it is important to align yourself with the right people, it’s also good not to associate with people who will betray/abandon/kill you the first chance they get. How can you tell the difference between these two groups? No idea.
Film examples: “28 Days Later,” “Pandemic,” “The Omega Man,” “12 Monkeys,” “It Comes at Night,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
While you can’t really plan for this one, having some kind of genetic condition or injecting yourself with an experimental cure that makes you immune to the looming disease is the best way to survive. The one downside to this is that it can result in loneliness as you will likely be one of the last living people on Earth. Also, it’s possible your immunity could make you a target for research scientists seeking a cure. They usually care more about the well-being of the rest of the planet than individual safety.
Film examples: “Contagion,” “I Am Legend,” “Patient Zero,” “The Omega Man,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “War for the Planet of the Apes.”
Know where to live
Being in a city with a large population can increase your chances of infection. On the other hand, being isolated in the woods can increase the likelihood you’ll starve if you don’t know how to live off the land. What you should do depends on your skills and the type of infection. With a zombie-like infection, you would probably be better off in a remote cabin with strong defenses. While a normal virus would spread faster in a city, you would have better access to food and medicine, and that is also where government resources would be concentrated to contain the disease.
Film examples: “Carriers,” “I Am Legend,” “28 Days Later,” “Doomsday,” “It Comes at Night.”
Be in the right place at the right time
Sometimes it’s a matter of timing whether you end up on the right or wrong side of a quarantine zone or if you find yourself at the epicenter of the disease’s path or miss it entirely. This can also affect the people you meet and could cause the right team-up or the wrong team-up.
Film examples: “28 Days Later,” “Quarantine,” “The Andromeda Strain,” “Doomsday,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”
Follow a list of rules
When disease breaks out, all sense of civility and law-abiding behavior goes out the window. Having a list of rules to follow will keep you and your loved ones safe. Things like using the buddy system and not going out at night. If something goes bump in the night, maybe just ignore it, and for survival’s sake, if you think you are infected, tell someone.
Film examples: “Carriers,” “Zombieland,” “The Andromeda Strain,” “It Comes at Night,” “War for the Planet of the Apes.”