‘Contagion’ Medical Adviser Tests Positive for Coronavirus Amid Pandemic

As coronavirus spreads across the globe, many are looking back to the popular 2011 thriller, Contagion. The movie shows a fictional contagious disease that, much like COVID-19, explodes all over the world. Contagion screenwriter Scott Z. Burns has said that he utilized research and expert opinions to inform his writing on the movie. One medical adviser that worked on the virus-themed film, Dr. Ian Lipkin, has now been infected with the coronavirus.

Doctor who served as an expert on 2011 pandemic movie ‘Contagion’ tests positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus
A coronavirus researcher at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation in Nutley, New Jersey | Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Dr. Ian Lipkin, a medical adviser on the 2011 film Contagion has come down with COVID-19. Lipkin shared the news that he tested positive for coronavirus with David Asman this past week. Asman was interviewing the doctor on Lou Dobb’s Tonight (which airs on Fox Business) about “potential new treatments for coronavirus,” Fox reported.

Fox also clarified that “the interview was … conducted remotely, with Asman in a studio and Lipkin at a separate location.”

“If it can hit me, it can hit anybody. That’s the message I want to convey,” Dr. Lipkin said. The Contagion expert said it had a very emotional experience for him, between coughs.

“This has become very personal for me, too,” Dr. Lipkin told Asman. “I have COVID as of yesterday. And it is miserable.”

“I heard you cough, I didn’t wanna be a hypochondriac and say, ‘I hope you don’t have it,’” Asman told Dr. Lipkin. “But you do.”

Lipkin told Asman that “he is undergoing trial treatment for the virus and hoped to feel better soon.”

Dr. Ian Lipkin warns viewers about COVID-19

Lipkin, Fox reported, “signed on to consult director Steven Soderbergh on Contagion in an effort to raise public awareness about modern public health challenges.”

The medical expert wanted the film to “be a wake-up call for the public that today’s fiction could easily become fact tomorrow.” Contagion was realistic, but still thrilling for viewers, which Dr. Lipkin found to be a key combination. Many storylines in Contagion are based on what Dr. Lipkin truly experienced while working on the SARS outbreak in Beijing in 2003.

Dr. Lipkin told Asman that, based on his knowledge, “communities across the country” should put “standardized coronavirus restrictions” in place. “We have porous borders between states, between cities.”

However, even as an expert, Dr. Lipkin said much of how the coronavirus pandemic response will go is up in the air.

“We really don’t know when we’re gonna get this under control,” he said.

One MD says the coronavirus is more dangerous than the infectious disease in ‘Contagion’

To add to the general state of anxiety, a physician from Pennsylvania wrote a column in the opinion section of TribeLIVE.com. The article was titled: “Dr. Paul Carson: Why coronavirus pandemic is worse than the film Contagion.”

Contagion cast
Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, and director Steven Soderbergh at the Contagion photocall during the 68th Venice Film Festival in 2011 | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Part of the problem, Carson argued: while the Contagion virus “had a very short incubation period — that is, hours,” coronavirus has a long one. The doctor explained that’s dangerous:

With covid-19 infection, most will walk around for near a week without feeling any symptoms, unknowingly spreading the virus. When we do finally feel sick, if you are lucky enough to get a test, then and only then are you asked to ‘quarantine.’ By then, if you were not already sheltering in place prior to the testing, you probably spread it to a whole bunch of people.

Dr. Carson begged his readers: “What you do now will affect the world, your country, your family and loved ones. Be smart. Be safe. Share.”