"Did They Get it Right?" looks at "Contagion"

Uploaded by PennState on 06.07.2012

Narrator: The world comes close to the brink in film Contagion, on this episode of
"Did They Get It Right?" What happens when millions around the world
come down with a virus that's highly contagious? How will health officials cope?
Will mass hysteria take over? These are some of issues tackled in Steven Soderbergh's 2011
offering, Contagion. The film's premise is quite simple, a highly contagious and deadly
virus spreads throughout the global village and then the film dramatizes how different
populations deal with the pandemic. After watching the movie though, the question looms,
"How close are we to this scenario being the real thing?"
So there are quite often situations where we do get close to a scenario like that. In
fact we just had two scenarios like that in the
past decade. SARS and H1N1. and were constantly concerned about H5N1,
which is the bird flu, which is pretty lethal in humans, but luckily hasn't found a way
how to jump from one human to the next. but as soon as that happens we'll have a big
problem on our hands. I think the real heroes in a story like that
are the medical people on the ground and the public health workers. And
actually they put themselves in harms way. We
saw that with SARS when the first people on the ground investigating, SARS-- and it was
not known back then that it was SARS. A lot of them ended up dying unfortunately.
Narrator: How does the government plan for such an event? Can they? And with social
media becoming a bigger part of our daily landscape, what part will it play in an
To some extent the government is ready. To some extent there will be issues that you
just can't plan for. You just don't know how people
are going to react essentially. You only can plan so much right for something you can't
really predict. That's another reason for example I think looking at social media is
just going to be so important. "Cause then at
least you're not surprised you can actually you look at what people are thinking, what
they're-- how they're behaving. What they think the government is doing right, what
they think the government is doing wrong. I think
the Jude Law character was credible but it was the representative I would say. I mean
there are certainly a lot of people out there that have no idea what they're talking
about when it comes to these things but still do a lot of the talking. And so,
that could be a concern if these people have a lot of followers, but overall I think,
it's just us out there using social media all of us and I think as a society we will
probably make better decisions than just follow one crazy guy. I did like the accuracy of
the movie. It is a Hollywood movie after all, but from a scientific perspective it was as
accurate as they come. The one thing that I
didn't like is it made bloggers appear like complete nuts-- y'know all of the bloggers,
and that's totally not true. From a purely scientific, biological and I think even
societal perspective they got it totally right!