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Moments in pop culture that ‘predicted’ COVID-19

28 Mar 2020
A Korean TV show on Netflix
A Korean TV show on Netflix "My Secret Terrius". (Netflix/My Secret Terrius)
A Korean TV show on Netflix
A Korean TV show on Netflix "My Secret Terrius". (Netflix/My Secret Terrius)
A Korean TV show on Netflix
A Korean TV show on Netflix "My Secret Terrius". (Netflix/My Secret Terrius)
Contagion movie poster. (WarnerBros)
Contagion movie poster. (WarnerBros)
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Updated 29 Mar 2020
28 Mar 2020

Carla Chahrour

A Korean TV show on Netflix has gone viral on social media when an episode featured a deadly coronavirus back in 2018.

The tenth episode of the series “My Secret Terrius” which was released in 2018,  mentions the illness “coronavirus”, which was used to refer to a number of viruses before it officially became named “COVID-19.”


A character in the spy drama is warned about a flu-like coronavirus with a 14 days incubation, which attacks the lungs and does not have a vaccine.  

In the scenes from the show, a doctor informs the character of the virus saying that ‘We must do more research, but it looks like a mutant coronavirus.”

The character then compares the coronavirus to previous viral outbreaks, such as MERS, and SARS. Upon doing so, the doctor explains that “MERS, SARS, the common flu, all fall in the same family with the same gene information. The coronavirus attacks the respiratory system. What’s more serious is that the coronavirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days.”

The doctor also adds that “This virus was manipulated to attack the lungs directly within just five minutes of being exposed.”

When the character asks whether there a cure is available, the doctor responds “There’s no cure or vaccine available at the moment.”

In the prescient scenes from the show, the Korean Minister of Health And Welfare visits a class of children, where he performs a demonstration teaching them how to wash their hands in order to avoid contracting the virus.

Despite the eerie similarities between the virus discussed in the episode and COVID-19, such as the 14-day incubation period, which matches what health experts have said about the current virus, the word ‘coronavirus’ has historically referred to a family of viruses, which have caused major outbreaks in the past (SARS and MERS), including the common cold, before it was associated with COVID-19, which is not explicitly mentioned in the show. 

Furthermore, the show describes the virus as a ‘mutant’ that is used as a weapon, with a mortality rate of 90 percent, which is much higher than the real-life figure for COVID-19, which as of March 28 is 4.6 percent.

Reactions to “My Secret Terrius” coronavirus scene on twitter:

The film Contagion has also been highlighted for its accurate depiction of a global pandemic.

Steven Soderberg’s 2011 movie is a global action thriller that revolves around the threat of a fictional deadly outbreak that spreads worldwide, killing 26 million people worldwide.

According to Google trends, search interest regarding Contagion began increasing in early January of this year, despite having been available for nine years prior to the outbreak.  

The parallelism in the sequence of events that occur during the pandemic in the film, resemble the events taking place across different countries amid the coronavirus outbreak, convincing viewers that the film ‘predicts’ COVID-19.

Reactions to“Contagion” on Twitter:

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