Entertaining Yourself in Light Of COVID-19

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I've recently recovered from a nasty bout of intestinal flu. It wasn't fun. Nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea. This bug lasted about a week. I was on the BRAT diet – bland food like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. I managed to force down some egg drop soup and pork fried rice. Chicken stayed down. I know I was very sick since I didn't crave any sugar or caffeine. In fact, I have had very little junk food in six days. No coffee. I don't drink caffeinated sodas.

Although I'm feeling much better now, I'm aware that COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, is right around the corner. Literally. I live only an hour from Boston, where 92 people (at last count) were diagnosed with the disease after attending a meeting of the biotech firm Biogen. People are grabbing everything off the shelves at our local supermarket. My husband and I have lots of food in the house, but we need to stock up for ourselves and the cats. We're almost out of cat food. I'll admit I'm scared, but I'm trying to not panic.

While I was laid up with this flu, I went on a biohazard movie binge. This post is a list of biohazard movies and TV shows for those who like a slice of irony with their entertainment viewing. I've also included a few books you must read. I've limited my list to movies and TV shows that did not feature diseases that devolved into vampire and zombie stories, so no 28 WEEKS LATER, DAWN OF THE DEAD, TRAIN TO BUSAN, I AM LEGEND, CONTRACTED, or THE WALKING DEAD. These movies, TV shows, and books listed below are about outbreaks alone.

CONTAGION – This one is closest to what is happening in the world right now. A disease that originates in China transmits around the world, and the CDC and WHO are trying to stop its progress. Stars Matt Damon.

OUTBREAK – A bit overly dramatic, but good. Amry doctors struggle to find a cure for a hemorrhagic fever spreading through a California town that was brought to America by an African monkey. Stars Dustin Hoffman chewing up the screen but in a good way. Also stars Patrick Demsey before he became Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on GREY'S ANATOMY.

[REC] – A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC, after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers. [American remake – QUARANTINE]

CORDON – A Belgian-Dutch TV show about an outbreak in Antwerp in which the government tries to contain the disease by building a wall.

THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN – Based on Michael Crichton's book by the same name. Odd disease that turns human blood into dust decimates a small Utah town. Very frightening movie made in 1969. Also a TV series.

12 MONKEYS – A Terry Gilliam movie about an outbreak and time travel. This one is special to me because I did second unit lighting for it back in my TV and movie union work days.

WARNING SIGN – A lesser known but very entertaining movie about a disease outbreak starring Sam Waterston and Kathleen Quinlan.

THE STAND – The infamous Stephen King frightfest. The book is terrifying. So are all the movie and TV versions.

THE HOT ZONE – A non-fiction novel by Richard Preston about the ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers.

THE DEMON IN THE FREEZER – Another non-fiction novel by Richard Preston about smallpox.

FEVER! THE HUNT FOR A NEW KILLER VIRUS – Amazon book description (non-fiction): February 1969 - deadly unidentified virus reported from remote African missionary hospital, two American nurses stricken and died within 10 days. Doctors stymied by mysterious symptoms of the killer: soaring temperature, painful backache, swelling of the throat and neck, discolored skin! Latest victim airlifted to special isolation ward at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, blood samples rushed to Yale's Arborvirus Laboratory, all-out search launches to discover an antidote. U. S. Public Health officials alarmed, virus has the potential to decimate the whole population, aviation officials consider cancellation of all jet travel to critical world areas.

VIRUS X: TRACKING THE NEW KILLER PLAGUES – OUT OF THE PRESENT & INTO THE FUTURE – Amazon book description (non-fiction): A meticulously researched account of humankind against microbe investigates the nature of plague viruses from diverse parts of the world and their implications, and presents a radical new theory about the origins of these deadly diseases.

I'm going to finish watching CONTAGION now. My husband and I are trying to live our lives like we normally do, but driving around may soon be out of the question. We're afraid of quarantine, and we have to prepare for that possibility. So, get out that hand sanitizer, stock up on canned goods and powdered milk, and be healthy and safe. Let's hope this whole thing blows over sooner rather than later. I hope it doesn't become so serious were all in lockdown. Here's hoping.


Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her two cats. 

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