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Stephen King Says Stop Comparing The Stand to Coronavirus Pandemic

King's fictional flu versus our real-life outbreak.

For those horror fans who aren’t incurably addicted to social media and/or coronavirus updates, Master of Horror Stephen King recently spoke out on Twitter about the pandemic making its way across the globe. In fact, he wants people to stop comparing the coronavirus to the fictional disease he dreamed up in his 1978 post-apocalyptic classic The Stand.  

Related: Virus Movies Are Trending—and Outbreak is Streaming Now on Netflix to Alleviate/Intensify All Your Coronavirus Fears

Here's what King had to say: 

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.

King certainly has a point. In the author's pandemic horror novel, the U.S. military weaponizes a strain of influenza for use as a biological weapon. The highly contagious strain gets out, sweeping across the globe and laying waste to most of humanity. The coronavirus, by contrast, originates in animals, with cross-infection first detected in China. While over 99% of the world’s population perishes in The Stand, the global casualty rate of the coronavirus is currently around 4,300 of those estimated 120,000 infected. While King’s weaponized flu spreads indiscriminately, we should remember that those most susceptible to the coronavirus are older adults and individuals with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. Lastly, while society collapsed under the weight of panic in The Stand, it’s important to take King's parting words of wisdom to heart: remain calm and considerate and practice all reasonable precautions like washing your hands and avoiding large gatherings.

Related: 12 Scariest Stephen King Books

While we shouldn't equate the reality of the coronavirus with the fictional doom of King’s imagined flu, a little catharsis through horror never hurt anyone. Indeed, the author himself recently got in on the morbid fun by sharing a Pennywise-themed coronavirus meme. Along with the rise in popularity of 2011's Contagion—currently hovering at the top of the iTunes charts—there are plenty of other virus outbreak movies available for your streaming pleasure. Or, if you need to get your mind as far away from the coronavirus troubles as you can, maybe check out some great horror book recommendations from Stephen King himself or perhaps some Stephen King quotes

All souls still hungry for King’s pandemic horror epic, grab a copy of The Stand below. And prepare yourself for more King-style terror: a remake of The Stand: The Miniseries is slated for release later this year. 

The Stand

By Stephen King

Feature photo: Alchetron

Published on 11 Mar 2020

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