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The Pied Piper of Hamelin in real life and in the movies

The most despicable character in the film “Contagion” (2011) is not the virus (which, as a piece of nucleic acid, is not even alive so it can’t be evil), but Alan Krumwiede (portrayed by Jude Law), a conspiracy theorist who makes a killing (quite literally) out of a viral pandemic. For many years I have been more aware than many of how many Krumwiedes there are all over.  I truly appreciate that in the film he and his awful methods are described so realistically.  “Have you heard of Forsythia?”

There are some excellent articles in the media about the new almost-but-not-quite coronavirus pandemic (as of today, 2/25/2020).   Watch the movie Contagion, it is a great movie, good entertainment and respectful of scientific understanding of pandemics.  For those who don’t care much about the science, there is still a lot to learn about the dangers of misinformation and quackery.

In skin care, misinformation presents in various guises: companies selling “natural” products, and “non-profits” making money out of selling certificates of “purity”. They all spread lies in one way or another; they will not cost you your life, like Forsythia did in the movie, but they are spreading disinformation and distrust in science. Eventually, the disinformation spreads further, and some people end up rejecting vaccines,  an action that does cot lives. Me? I am always the first in the line to get the flu shot of the year.

Laurie Garrett (1995) The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World out of Balance. Macmillan. 768 pp.

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