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  • The coronavirus outbreak is the closest thing to a worldwide pandemic as, well, the 2011 disaster film “Contagion.” It’s also about a worldwide epidemic that sweeps the globe. Indeed, the virus is making cheesy Hollywood sci-fi films seem all too real.

    Disaster films involving a deadly virus have been a Hollywood staple for decades. An examination by The New York Independent found 24 recent films that are based on the spread of a deadly virus. (We picked the top 10 below.)

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    In some cases, such as the 2007 film “I am Legend,” the virus causes mutations in humans turning them into zombies or savage animals. The film, starring Will Smith, was actually a remake of the 1964 cult classic, “The Last Man on Earth” starring Vincent Price.

    In each of the films a rogue virus decimates humankind and touches off a panicked search to find a cure. It’s almost as if they’ve conditioned people to panic.

    In the case of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) is stopping short of calling the disease a worldwide pandemic. But there’s no question the virus is spreading from its point of origin, China, and killing thousands. That’s about a three percent death rate.

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    While China remains ground zero for the virus’s origin, the rate of new infections there have slowed. The focus of the disease is shifting to Iran and Italy — which have become second only to South Korea as a source of infections.

    So far, deaths from the coronavirus pale compared with other pandemics. The swine-flu pandemic of 2009, for example, caused an estimated 203,000 deaths worldwide.

    In 2003, the death rate from the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic was about 7.2 percent based on 6,903 confirmed cases and 495 deaths, according to the WHO>

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    According to medical references a pandemic is defined as a worldwide spread of the virus that exposes the entire population of the planet.

    “What we don’t understand yet in Covid-19 are the absolute transmission dynamics,” said Michael Ryan, executive director of the health emergencies program at WHO, told Yahoo News.

    “Now is the time to prepare. We are in a phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic,” he added.

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    The threat here in the United States remains low. But several cases have been reported. The Trump administration has called for significant budget cuts affecting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but is requesting up to $1 billion from Congress to fight the outbreak.

    Major pharmaceutical companies, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi and Gilead, are working with the government to come up with a vaccine.

    Gilead reportedly has already begun trials of antiviral drug that is awaiting government approval. The company has said it is already ramping up production of the drug, without knowing if it will be approved to fight the coronavirus.

    Inovio and Novavax are also working on vaccines.

    Some Republican lawmakers claim warm weather may stop the virus, but no evidence exists that weather will affect the virus’s spread, health official state.

    Check out these sci-fi films below and be thankful the virus isn’t changing humans into flesh-eating monsters.

    Life Imitates Movies; Check Out These Films