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Stephen King downplays comparisons between coronavirus and The Stand’s apocalyptic plague

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Mar 9, 2020, 8:15 PM EDT (Updated)

The coronavirus may be creating a worldwide scare — but don’t look to Stephen King for affirmation that the virus warrants the kind of global pandemonium that measures up against his own fictional horror.

The author of The Stand is taking a stand against what he views as fan overreaction in some social media corners to the threat of coronavirus, saying there’s really no comparison between the real-world illness and the rampant ravaging of more than 99 percent of Earth’s population that his made-up Blue virus (aka Captain Trips) wreaked in The Stand.

Taking to Twitter over the weekend, King struck a balance between making sure people took the coronavirus threat seriously and downplaying the idea that the world has an apocalyptic public health menace on its hands. “No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND,” he declared:

Via CNBC, recent data suggests the flu-like coronavirus has a mortality rate among those it infects of 3.4 percent worldwide. And with a comparatively small proportion of the world’s population infected, imagining coronavirus as a sweeping phenomenon — one capable of toppling governments and hitting the reset button on law and order generally — appears to be on the pessimistically bleak side.

Although the emergent nature of the virus’ spread across the globe may have people seeing the potential for a pandemic, King reminded fans that coronavirus is “not anywhere near as serious” as The Stand’s society-collapsing disease. “It’s eminently survivable,” King wrote. “Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.”

That’s exactly what many in the entertainment world appear to be doing, even if it means a lull in what would otherwise be a busy March schedule of fun fan events. No Time to Die is bumping its Mar. 31 debut date all the way until November. Organizers of Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con said last week the annual fan meetup will be put on hold until sometime this summer. And in Austin, SXSW has been outright canceled for the first time in its 33-year history.

This month’s annual Games Developer Conference also has been postponed until summertime, and Disney resorts in Japan, Hong Kong, and China all have been temporarily closed — even as the company says it's “carefully monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation” while it keeps its U.S. parks open.

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