Four things to watch to get a better understanding of viruses and pandemics

List of things that I actually found useful and add a lot of background relevant to the COVID-19.


Fernanda Fadel - Science writer

3 years ago | 3 min read

Are you as tired as me of reading the same articles and messages being shared? Wash your hands, stay home, opinions on masks, flatten the curve and such. No matter how much I read on covid-19 now, I get no or very little new information.

So, I have listed here things that I actually found useful and add a lot of background relevant to the situation we are living in, without actually being about Sars-Cov 2. And if you know people who still insist this is “just a flu”, you can try to shove these down their throats.

Mythbusters “Flu Fiction” and Bill Gates’ Ted Talk — Screenshots
Mythbusters “Flu Fiction” and Bill Gates’ Ted Talk — Screenshots
  1. Mythbusters “Flu Fiction” episode (2010). Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. I only found the complete episode divided in parts on YouTube. They have several fun experiments showing how effective a sneeze is in spreading droplets full of viruses, the science of nasal secretions and how much snot can be spread in social situations. And they show what you can do to avoid spreading snot if you are sick. “If you’re sick, you need to take some personal responsibility”. Friendly reminder that, with Sars-Cov 2 going around, you should always act like you have the virus, because you might have it and not know it yet.
  2. Ted talk by Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready (2015). The title alone makes it look like he was predicting the future. He wasn't the only one to say this, many scientists and doctors have said that and written about the possibility of pandemics over the years. Bill Gates is a philanthropist and invests in ideas that are effective in improving the world and reducing inequality, (If only all the super rich people did that) including projects that aim at eradicating/preventing/treating/curing infectious diseases.
  3. Docuseries “Pandemic” (2020) on Netflix “Not a matter of if, but when”. This one gave me chills. It really looked like they were predicting a pandemic was about to happen. It was released on January 22, 2020 (possibly in a hurry since the first news about the coronavirus were surfacing?). And it is among the most watched on Netflix because of the coronavirus situation. This documentary covers different pandemics all over the world, including Influenza in 1918, Ebola, H1N1 (and other HsNs) and it shows the different scenarios we could be facing with corona (though they are not about corona, they are comparable and the knowledge is transferable). If you ask me, they should do season 2 entirely about corona, one episode for each of the countries that are most affected by Sars-Cov 2.
  4. Movie “93 days” available on Netflix. It is a Nigerian film that tells the story of the 2014 Ebola outbreak and its successful containment in Lagos, Nigeria. It is based on true events. “Patient 0" was a Liberian American diplomat so the movie deals with politics and World Health Organization as well as the personal drama of the doctors that took care of the patient and the containment efforts. It is a good way of putting faces to the numbers and seeing their side of the story. We are so used to just hearing how many victims of the disease there were, forgetting that each one had a life, a family, a future. Bonus, you get to watch a foreign film and broaden your cultural horizons.
osters from the Netflix documentary “Pandemic” and the movie “93 days”
osters from the Netflix documentary “Pandemic” and the movie “93 days”

Basically, it feels like we have been warned. Doctors and scientists have been studying viruses and pandemics. They struggle to get funds to continue with research and making sure hospitals are/would be prepared. Now here we are, depending on them to solve the greatest crisis of our generation.

Hopefully, after this is over, governments will seriously start to listen about all the global warming warnings — the next life changing issue in the agenda.


This article was originally published on Medium.

Fernanda Fadel writes about multiple scientific topics, from medical issues to genetic controversies, from conservation to animal welfare. Her text that got the closest to going slightly viral is this one on the animal welfare issues in the Netflix series Tiger King.


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Fernanda Fadel - Science writer

Biologist focused on animal behavior, zoology, genetics and medical topics.







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