Pandemic: How To Prevent An Outbreak
IMDb rating: 6.0/10
The creators of Rotten bring us a six-part series about epidemic preparedness, just in time for viewers to start “freaking out” about the Wuhan coronavirus.
The series introduces us to the scientists, doctors and activists at the front line of the battle against a global influenza outbreak, which could claim hundreds of millions of lives. The consensus is that it’s not a case of “if” this could happen – it’s a case of “when”.
As the New York Post describes, “Dr Dennis Carroll, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Emerging Threats Unit director, says in the show that people should be most scared of influenza and respiratory viruses — claiming that alarmists are more concerned with Ebola, which only infected 28 600 people worldwide, than H1NI, which has killed 151 700 to 575 400 people worldwide, according to the CDC.”
Troublingly, as Dr Syra Madad, the senior director of New York City Health & Hospitals’ Special Pathogens Programme explains in the docuseries, influenza is incredibly difficult to predict, and all it would take would be one carrier to cause a global epidemic.
On the other side of the issue are the anti-vaxxers, who refuse to vaccinate their children against any diseases, and were described by the World Health Organisation last year as one of the biggest health threats of 2019.
With the timing of the series, it’s inevitable that viewers will be drawing parallels between the projections of a global outbreak of influenza in the show with the spread of the coronavirus currently unfolding in the real world. At the time of writing, no cases had been reported in South Africa, though the list of countries affected continues to grow with each passing day, and the death toll in China, where the virus originated, is also rising daily.
To understand the importance of epidemic preparedness, and of vaccination, this is an essential and eerily timely series.