In Stephen King’s The Stand, the world is ravaged by a killer flu strain. A few isolated cases spiral into a pandemic, with the virus proving resilient and incredibly contagious. Soon the flu virus has spread around the world, eventually killing off 99.4% of humanity and most animals. Sound familiar? Well, let’s just say that with the COVID-19 Coronavirus dominating headlines around the world and quickly becoming the biggest health crisis of a generation, many people are thinking about the influenza-induced societal collapse that takes place in King’s epic novel.
But while Coronavirus is very serious and more deadly than anyone would like it to be, it’s not “kill 99.4% of humanity” deadly. In fact, Stephen King took to Twitter, presumably in response to him being repeatedly quizzed about the Coronavirus’ similarities to The Stand, to make a statement, which reads as follows:
“No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND. It’s not anywhere near as serious. It’s eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.”
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One company that will likely be seeing a small silver lining to the global unease are CBS. They’re currently working on a new prestige adaptation of The Stand featuring an impressive cast and a big budget. This will air on CBS All Access, consist of ten episodes and should air in late 2020. With killer flu on everyone’s lips (possibly literally), an exploration of the absolute worst-case scenario for a flu outbreak should draw a huge audience, assuming that people aren’t tired of hearing about pandemics by then (and also assuming society hasn’t devolved into roving feudal warbands).
In the meantime, King is right that Coronavirus is eminently survivable. Keep washing those hands, avoid large crowds and maybe stock up on a few staples in case you have to self-isolate for a few weeks. Here’s hoping that by the time The Stand airs, Coronavirus will have been beaten into submission.