‘Contagion’ Writer on the Coronavirus Pandemic: the Trump Administration’s Budget Cuts to the CDC Were ‘Foolish and Dangerous’

by Jeremy Spirogis

The coronavirus outbreak is gaining traction within the United States, after already wreaking havoc in nations like China, Italy, and Spain. In gentle of the general public well being disaster, lots of people are turning again to the 2011 film Contagion. The movie tells the story of a virus that infects people all around the globe. While the fictional illness in Contagion is extra lethal than COVID-19, there are nonetheless fairly a couple of parallels between the film and actual life in 2020.

The screenwriter of Contagion, Scott Z. Burns (who additionally wrote Side Effects) employed analysis, visits to the Center for Disease Control, and skilled enter to write down the film. Burns not too long ago shared his ideas on the coronavirus pandemic. Even although Contagion got here out years in the past, lots of the classes within the movie are nonetheless related. Burns, for instance, could be very disillusioned with the present authorities for slashing funds that needed to do with illness management.

People put on face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station on January 22, 2020, in Wuhan, China| Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has uncovered flaws in our system, the screenwriter behind the pandemic film ‘Contagion’ says

Variety not too long ago interviewed Scott Z. Burns, who wrote Contagion. The film has not too long ago been trending on streaming platforms, as individuals all internationally are coping with the implications of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Were you concerned when you read about Trump’s budget cuts for the CDC?” the reporter requested Burns.

“I was terrified,” Burns responded. The Contagion screenwriter stated that governments merely must be ready for pandemics–as a result of they’re at all times potential. He advised Variety:

Every scientist who I spoke to once I labored on the film stated that very same factor to me: It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when.’ You can resolve that more often than not, firemen are simply sitting round. But it’s very onerous to begin a hearth division as soon as your home is on fireplace.

Scott Z. BurnsScott Z. Burns
Scott Z. Burns | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

This is why, Burns defined, it doesn’t make sense to solely have a well-funded CDC once we desperately want it.

“The notion that we’re going to cut these things and we’ll just try to rebuild them when we need them is foolish and dangerous,” he stated. Burns blamed the Trump administration for leaving the U.S. woefully unprepared:

I used to be very conscious that our Department of Homeland Security had a pandemic crew standing by as a result of it is a actual menace. The undeniable fact that this administration determined to get rid of that places all of us in danger.

Scott Z. Burns did plenty of analysis on public well being for ‘Contagion’ — which now feels eerily related

The analysis that Burns did for Contagion knowledgeable lots of his responses when it got here to COVID-19. He says our response to the coronavirus pandemic should be a crew effort:

Marion Cotillard on the Contagion premiere in 2011 | Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

I used to be allowed to go to the CDC in 2008 and meet with individuals there. I actually realized rather a lot about what public well being meant. Public well being has rather a lot to do with our obligation to one another. Science is nice, however what’s additionally nice is a shared duty to maintain one another wholesome. I believe that’s a extremely necessary message that I hope comes out of the film.

What does the Contagion screenwriter suppose we have to do?

“If we all wash our hands and observe social distancing and take care of each other, that does a lot more than almost anything,” he argued.

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