Stephen King On Coronavirus: “Not Anywhere Near As Serious” As Disease In ‘The Stand’

Never fear, susceptible population: The expanding coronavirus is nowhere near as lethal as the flu strain that killed most of the world’s people in The Stand. We have that from a reliable source: Stephen King.

The prolific horrormeister wrote on Twiiter that the real disease — which has spread from China to six continents and more than 30 U.S. states — is “not anywhere near as serious” as “Project Blue,” the virulent superbug depicted in his 1977 novel The Stand. That strain of influenza was weaponized by the American government but accidentally released by a soldier who flees the lab where it was developed.

In the book, Project Blue is exposed to the public by mistake when Patient Zero escapes with his wife and kid and makes a run for it. They don’t last long — and things get real grim real fast. The virus causes society to break down amid panic and confusion and ultimately kills more than 99 percent of humanity.

In reality, Covid-19 has been blamed for more than 110,000 cases worldwide, and the World Health Organization has put its risk assessment at “very high” — its top level. Three more countries have reported their first cases of coronavirus in just the past 24 hours as health officials scramble to contain the outbreak.

U.S. stock markets saw another widespread downturn Monday. The selloff got so ad that trading was halted briefly on the New York Stock Exchange before the Dow Jones industrial index closed down more than 2,000 points — a 7.8 percent drop.

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