A virus has become an enemy of the human race. It has killed more people than an earthquake and has created more fear among people than a flood. Alongside human evolution, there has been a virus evolution. Humans are quickly seeking countermeasures against the latest virus. However, the virus mutates at the same rate as progress is made on a virus vaccination. Today, humanity faces the horror of a virus infestation. A story about a deadly virus that is often depicted in the media, is now a reality.
"There's no question of heroism in all this. It's a matter of common decency. That's an idea which may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague is — common decency."
- Dr. Bernard Rieux
The Plague (1947)
Rieux, a doctor from Oran city, one day sees a dead rat on the hospital stairs. The next day, three more bloody dead rats are found in the hospital. The number of dead rats gradually increases and are found throughout Oran. People in the city are terrified of the sight of countless dead rats on the streets, but Oran City Hall does nothing to resolve the problem. One day, the janitor working at the hospital with Rieux dies after battling a high fever. Soon afterwards, people in Oran start dying similar style deaths. Investigations find the deaths are due to the plague, so the government seals off the city. Oran enters a chaotic state, and Rieux, the doctor, does his best to fight the plague. Rieux meets Rambert, a newspaper reporter who attempts to escape from the city and Father Paneloux who claims the virus is God's will. Tarrou, who settled in Oran before the plague, organizes a group of volunteers to fight the plague, and Rieux joins him. One day, Rieux hears his sick wife's health worsens, but he continues with his work to find a cure. Rambert is given the opportunity to escape Oran, but he refuses to leave, vowing to do all he can to fight the plague. However, the plague shows no sign of disappearing. Will Oran be able to overcome the plague and return to a place of peace?
Oran city, the setting of the book, reflects modern society. The plague brings chaos to the city, but it was other underlying problems that elevated the situation to beyond help. Citizens do not pay attention to the implications of the virus. The irresponsible government fails to do its duty during the initial phase of the virus spread and is only concerned with removing the dead bodies. Priests only cling to their social status and delude people into more confusion. Nonetheless, some people do their best to save the city from the plague. Rieux does his duty as doctor, Tarrou organizes a volunteer group, and Rambert fights the plague and does not escape from the city until the virus disappears. Tarrou, although becoming infected with the plague and eventually dies, never stops fighting. These scenes out of a storybook are no longer just fiction in the 'Coronavirus era'. The author of the 1947 provides the same answers that have been provided by 2020 people. How can we overcome all disasters, not only viruses? The author suggests that the key solution is 'the sense of solidarity'. Nowadays, many doctors are working on the front line to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The book says solidarity will unite citizens and governments. This reporter recommends this book to anyone who wishes to learn about the attitude that could help to revolve society's current situation.
"If the girl doesn't carry antibodies, I'll take full responsibility."
The Flu (2013)
A virus with a fatality rate of 100% kills more than three people per second. The virus, brought to the nation by Hong Kong smugglers, quickly spreads to Bundang and the suburbs. Mirre tries to give bread to an infected person who is on the run and confirmed to be infected. The number of deaths increases exponentially, but there is no information about the virus and no cure. Members of the National Assembly in Bundang convene an emergency meeting to discuss the concern that their party approval rating is dropping. With the worst death toll in 36 hours, the government declares a national disaster. They order the city to be closed because they want to prevent a second wave. They drive citizens into a camp and start testing. Regardless of gender, they strip the camp detainees and give them numbers instead of names. People forcibly quarantined before being tested are terrified. The government decides to shoot and burn the detainees to prevent the spread of the virus. Will the president decide to follow through with these actions?
The film reminds us of our current COVID-19 situation in 2020. It was made about seven years ago, but it is very similar to our current circumstances. The movie is more immersive because it contains realistic images of members of the National Assembly and other local citizens. Members of the National Assembly become concerned about the party's image and citizens in other regions call for the closure of Bundang, fearing a spread to other parts of the country. No one worried about the quarantined people. In addition, the president failed to make a quick decision and just followed the prime minister's opinion. This could make us think 'what is the genuine role of the nation?' One of the scenes that the government ignores their people by siding with the US made audiences feel shocked. The film shows how inhumane humanity can become when in a dangerous situation. Among the many scenes in the film, the scene in which people are forcibly dragging a young child in order to obtain her as she has the antibodies. People will sacrifice themselves like the male main character in the film, but it is questionable how many of these such people exist in reality. This reporter recommends watching the movie and thinking about humanity as it is today.
Kim Han Yujin / Woman Section Editor
Oh Hwang Junhee / Society Section Editor