Context and a Movie: "Contagion"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A lethal pandemic that spreads like wildfire: could it actually happen? Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest and Dr. Larry Madoff, Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and editor of ProMED, an Internet-based emerging disease surveillance system, discusses what "Contagion" gets right and wrong. 


Dr. Larry Madoff and Dana Stevens

Comments [12]

Ruth hammer from Bronx

Amy in Manhattan: I felt that the NPR discussion about "Contagion" implied that it was the first to deal with that topic. I thought Michael Crichton's original work should have been remembered. You might be right about that movie's ending, but I think it was a very gripping story.

Sep. 16 2011 09:00 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Ruth: I said the ending was stupid, not the whole book, or the whole movie either. And I went to the movie because I was with people who wanted to see the movie. The ending was still a total copout w/no basis in science.

Sep. 16 2011 01:56 AM
Ruth from Bronx

Amy from Manhattan: If you thought the story was "stupid" why read the book AND see the movie?

Sep. 15 2011 04:51 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Tony from Canarsie: Yeah, once again my slow typing has kept me from getting a question answered before the segment ends. But actually, now it occurs to me: finding Patient Zero could help determine the origin of the virus, & that might help to find a treatment.

Ruth from Bronx: I've seen it, & read the book too. And the ending is so stupid is makes me wonder how an MD could have written it. The virus mutates to become harmless? No, a mutation occurs in just 1 organism & is then passed on to its descendants--it can't be passed laterally to others of the same species in other places all over the world & their descendants! Only the 1 strain originating from the 1 mutated virus would become harmless.

Sep. 15 2011 12:22 PM
Ruth from Bronx

See the old movie "The Andromeda Strain". Same idea, better movie.

Sep. 15 2011 12:07 PM
Tony from Canarsie

Amy from Manhattan -- I was also wondering about the purpose of finding "patient zero," beyond the need for a plot point.

Chalk it up to the vagaries of Hollywood scenarios, I suppose.

Sep. 15 2011 12:02 PM
Mike from Tribeca

I highly recommend "The Informant!," Steven Soderbergh's overlooked 2009 satire about the Archer Daniels Midland price fixing scandal. Why Matt Damon didn't get at least an Oscar nomination for his terrific performance is beyond me.

But spoilers? The movie just came out. That's not cricket.

Sep. 15 2011 11:59 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Once the virus has spread beyond a few contacts, how important is it to find the original patient? How does it help?

Sep. 15 2011 11:58 AM

The obama bump replacing the traditional handshake. Perhaps will turn out to be his greatest legacy!

Sep. 15 2011 11:56 AM
Jimmy TBA

NPR is the patient zero of the liberal media which spreads the virus of progressive politics and destroys society.

Sep. 15 2011 11:56 AM
Emily from Bed-Stuy

Doesn't seem like entertainment in an age of all sorts of real disasters - weather-related, earthquakes, nuclear disasters, 9/11, terror, and real viruses. Why bring more fear and scare into the world when it already exists - you'd have to feel fairly isolated from these realities to find this entertaining

Sep. 15 2011 11:55 AM
Robin from Queens

How is this movie different from the movie Outbreak from 1995 that starred Dustin Hoffman? It seems pretty much the same.

Sep. 15 2011 11:49 AM

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