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11 Pandemic Movies That Now Feel Way Too Real

For now, it looks like the new coronavirus (COVID-19) isn’t going anywhere. We’re hearing about new cases every day, and many cities are quarantining patients and those connected to them. Many more citizens have chosen to self-quarantine — and when we hear “self-quarantine,” we’re thinking it’s cancel all your plans and binge a movie marathon time. Yes, these are anxiety-provoking times, but beyond basic measures like washing our hands, there’s not a ton we can do. We might as well have some fun with it, and watch all the scariest virus movies we can think of during this trying time.

GOOP founder Gwyneth Paltrow, who starred in 2011’s Contagion, knows what we’re talking about. In the movie, she plays patient zero of a virus that quickly spreads across the globe. The actress posted a photo of her mask-covered face on Instagram, writing: “En route to Paris. Paranoid? Prudent? Panicked? Placid? Pandemic? Propaganda? Paltrow’s just going to go ahead and sleep with this thing on the plane. I’ve already been in this movie. Stay safe. Don’t shake hands. Wash hands frequently.”

Many pandemic movies do start out eerily close to our current times when a relatively small number of people have been infected. Of course, they then spiral out of control beyond anything we’ve ever actually seen happen. So please, remember to take these movies with a grain of salt.

In the end, there’s (usually) a hopeful message to these movies too — little glimpses of how humans take care of each other in times of need and fight for survival. But really: if you’re already freaking out, we can’t emphasize strongly enough that you shouldn’t be watching these movies. If, on the other hand, you’re really leaning into this COVID moment, there’s no better list of disease-spreading movies than these right here.

Enjoy — and pick up some apocalypse-surviving tips for the rest of us.

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