Did A Netflix Show Predict The COVID-19 Outbreak?

The term "coronavirus" is hardly new - it is a well-known family of viruses, discovered in the 1960s.

A segment from South Korean drama My Secret Terrius is going viral where the principal characters are seen discussing the discovery of a new type of coronavirus. The video is being shared with claims that the episode had predicted the COVID-19 outbreak. This is false, the properties of the virus discussed in the episode do not match those of SARS-CoV-2 - the causative agent behind COVID-19.

Furthermore, coronavirus is a well known family of viruses that has caused major outbreaks in the past (SARS and MERS). Therefore, it being the subject of fictional series is not surprising, nor does it make the show clairvoyant.

Also Read: False: Chinese Intelligence Officer Reveals Coronavirus Is A Bioweapon

BOOM received a video on its helpline, which appears to be shot by a user, who claims to have found something surprising on Netflix. The video shows him opening episode 10 of the first season of the popular Korean drama and skipping to 53 minutes, where the part going viral is shown.

Here, two characters are seen discussing the discovery of a new type of coronavirus. The episode was shot in 2018, which led people to believe that the showrunners somehow predicted the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Searching for the keywords "my secret terrius coronavirus", we found several posts on social media discussing the prediction theory.

So my first night of Netflix marathon gave me the surprise of this season! Netflix series "My Secret Terrius" released...

Posted by Marc Sonny Mejia Timbang on Thursday, 26 March 2020

Fact Check

In the viral video, the doctor lists down some precise characteristics of the new coronavirus discussed in the episode, that contradicts what we know of SARS-CoV-2.

The doctor states that the virus had been artificially mutated by a human, bringing the mortality rate to "almost 90%". The current COVID-19 pandemic has claimed 24082 lives out of 533416 infected individuals at the time of writing this article, which puts the mortality rate to about 4.5%.

Furthermore, recent studies on SARS-CoV-2 provides us enough evidence to debunk the claim that the virus was human-made. Peer-reviewed articles (Zhou et. al (2020); Andersen et. al (2020)) state two possible theories for the origins of the virus:

  1. The virus went through natural selection in an animal (currently the progenitor host is theorised to be a bat or a pangolin), before going through zoonotic transfer (transfer of pathogens between animals and humans), and jumping into a human host.
  2. The virus jumped into a human host from an animal, while going through re-assortment of its genetic make-up that could lead it to acquiring the properties to start a pandemic.

There is absolutely no evidence, despite thorough study of the virus, that it could have been artificially made by humans. Therefore, the doctor's description of the virus in the viral video does not reconcile with our existing knowledge on it.

Finally, coronavirus is a family of viruses that has been discovered in the 1960s. Members of this family have been known to cause major outbreaks, including the SARS pandemic in early 2000s. Therefore, it is not surprising that it has found itself becoming a subject of fictional works on deadly viruses.

Updated On: 2020-03-29T10:06:19+05:30
Claim :   Netflix show My Secret Terrius predicted the COVID-19 outbreak in 2018.
Claimed By :  Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp
Fact Check :  False
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