‘Contagion’ Screenwriter Blasts Trump Administration’s Response To Coronavirus

As the coronavirus scare heats up and the 2011 movie “Contagion” has become a popular watch on streaming services, becoming one of the most rented movies on iTunes, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns has weighed in on the current situation, arguing the Trump administration had a poor response.
“It is incredible to me that we are not letting the really amazing public health people in this country lead the response—that we are finding out that we don’t have enough test kits and have for some reason disbanded our pandemic-preparedness teams,” Burns told Slate. “When I was at the CDC researching the movie in 2009 and 2010, those people were extraordinary. It was no different than the feeling you might get if you went to a firehouse and saw how committed those first responders are to keeping people safe.”
“Slashing the budgets of those things is something I would have never contemplated as a screenwriter,” he continued. “When people tell me that the movie seems to be coming true, I say to them that I never contemplated that we would have leadership in this country that would gut our defense. This administration and this Republican Party talk about protecting people with a wall, and we can’t even make test kits.”
It should be noted that the MEV-1 virus in “Contagion” posed a far deadlier threat than the coronavirus, with experts in the movie estimating the death toll between 25 and 30%. According to Burns, the United States was in a better position to deal with an outbreak back in 2011.
“We had a Department of Homeland Security that had a pandemic-preparedness team in place,” he said. “There were people who understood how public health works. I listened to a press conference that the president gave where he described himself as a businessman who didn’t like it when people were just sitting around. Well, I wonder how he feels about the fire department. I live near a firehouse, and those people spend some time sitting around when there’s no fire‚ but you can’t build a fire department once your house is on fire. Unfortunately, this administration has decided that is what it wants to do, and it puts people way behind. When you look at the amount of testing this country has done compared to other countries, that’s the part that is scary to me.”
Despite all that, Burns said that the experts he spoke with at the time were most concerned about panic and misinformation.
Though “Contagion” director Steven Soderbergh has not weighed in on the current situation, he did say back in 2011 that working on the movie led him to believe that an outbreak of some kind was inevitable. He especially pointed out how politics can exacerbate the situation, such as China allegedly trying to keep information about the virus contained rather than the virus itself.
“There were two things that were unsettling,” Soderbergh said. “One is that everyone you spoke to said, ‘We’re due for a big one.’ And some of the stories from the people who go out and parachute into the situations, how politics prevented them from doing their work, are really depressing. Where they literally show up somewhere where there’s been an outbreak of a treatable disease and they’re there with supplies ready to go in. And because a volatile political situation existed, they weren’t allowed in to keep people from dying. They don’t have jurisdiction anywhere. You have to ask them to come. They have to be invited.”
‘Contagion’ Screenwriter Blasts Trump Administration’s Response To Coronavirus ‘Contagion’ Screenwriter Blasts Trump Administration’s Response To Coronavirus Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on March 14, 2020 Rating: 5

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