It's a strange time we live in. We're social distancing at home thanks to a pandemic that has affected hundreds of thousands throughout the world. The virus doesn't care about where you are or who you are. It can affect everyone, although, until you have it, you don't know how you'll react. Will you be asymptomatic? Will it just feel like a bad cold? Or are you bound for the hospital? The point is, we're in scary times.
Over in the fictional world, some people are facing scary times too, including the doctors over on The Resident and New Amsterdam. Over on New Amsterdam, the current storyline revolves around the doctors fighting off a new superbug and struggling under the weight of all that comes with it, including a lack of supplies and hospital beds. Sounds a little familiar? Like, maybe something you'd be reading in the news right now?
Ironically enough, the doctor that was set to debut on the show and who was coming in to help out with the superbug was none other than Daniel Dae Kim. Daniel had to stop filming the show in order to isolate himself after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
But New Amsterdam isn't the only show with a plot that seems related to the new coronavirus. The Resident took things a step further, going so far as to even mention the coronavirus in their March 24 episode. But is The Resident's superbug actually related to the coronavirus? Or is it just a coincidence? Light spoilers for the March 24 episode of The Resident.
Did 'The Resident' predict the coronavirus pandemic with their superbug storyline?
The Resident didn't base their superbug on the current real-life pandemic. The first cases of COVID-19 were in Wuhan, China in 2019, but the government only went public with the virus on Dec. 31, 2019. It took until Jan. 11 for China to report its first fatality. It took until late January for more countries, including the U.S., to announce their own cases of the virus.
But The Resident began filming Season 3 in early September 2019. Like many shows, it was still filming when most shows began halting production due to the virus. But nearly all of the season had already been completed. It seems likely and nearly definite that the superbug storyline was both written and filmed before the coronavirus became a worldwide fear and a pandemic.
But wait, then how did they directly say "coronavirus" in the March 24 episode?
In the March 24 episode, "Support System", the doctors are facing a superbug called Candida auris. When Cain (Morris Chestnut) is asked by Logan (Rob Yang) to cover the virus up so that the hospital doesn't come under fire and go bankrupt because of it, Cain warns him of the dangers of Candida auris.
"Candida auris is highly dangerous in immunocompromised patients," he says. "Half the people who get it die. We're lucky it's not airborne like the coronavirus. The staff is not at risk, but the patients could be."
So how did Cain know to mention the coronavirus if this was filmed months ago. Well, for one thing, coronaviruses are a kind of virus. The COVID-19 virus is just a kind of coronavirus, not the only coronavirus. In fact, SARS, which we experienced a violent outbreak of in the early 2000s, is another coronavirus. Also, as a side note, the superbug on The Resident is a deadly fungus, not a virus.
However, Cain specifically said the coronavirus, not a coronavirus, which seems to be a reference to the currently pandemic. As one Twitter user noted, what actually most likely happened was that The Resident utilized automated dialog replacement, or ADR, to change the line after it was filmed.
The Resident didn't predict the coronavirus and it also wasn't inspired by it. There were no Simpsons' level predictions here.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.