Watch trending virus-themed movies on streaming services in South Africa and switch things up with casino games!

What better way to spend your time under government enforced, nationwide lockdown, than to switch between playing casino games and binging trending TV shows and movies?  Switch it up with hundreds of titles to choose from in both the movie and gaming realms… and it might (or might not) help you forget about the corona beer virus altogether!

Before We Dig In… What is an R0?

An R0, or R naught, mathematically determines how contagious an infectious disease is by calculating the average number of people who will become infected by one contagious person.  It is also referred to as the reproduction number or transmission rate.

To give you an idea, the current novel coronavirus, aka Covid-19, aka SARS-coV-2, has a median R0 of 2 to 2.5/3, according to the W.H.O.  This is in comparison to an R0 of 1.3 for seasonal flu, which makes the new coronavirus much more efficient, and more contagious...  On the plus side, the mortality rate is fairly low although it differs depending on your age.  The median mortality rate is currently 3.4%, according to W.H.O.

Below we take a brief look at a docuseries and a few movies that are trending across streaming services in South Africa.

Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak (2020) Docuseries – Netflix

Stars (as themselves): Dr. Jacob Glanville, Dr. Sarah Ives, Dr. Syra Madad, Dr. Holly Goracke, Dr. Dinesh Vijay and more.

We’ll start off with the docuseries, Pandemic, which is a true-life tale of how scientists, specialists in immunoengineering, epidemiologists, researchers, pulmonologists – and just about every other PhD in the science and medical fields – have worked to both predict, prevent and mitigate the damage of the next pandemic.  It is rather bizarre that this docuseries hit our screens as the coronavirus hit out streets.

Dr. Jacob Glaville, a computational immunoengineer, businessperson and co-founder and CEO of Distributed Bio and Centivax, along with Dr. Sarah Ives, an immune engineer, Principle Scientist at Centivax and Director of Contract Research at Distributed Bio Inc, and Dr. Syra Madad, the Senior Director of the Special Pathogens Program of NYC Health & Hospitals are regularly featured throughout the series.

Without giving too much away, the Centivax team is working towards a one-size-fits-all flu vaccine while other doctors at the forefront are simply trying to ready the world for the next big one.  Well, now it’s here… and we can’t help but wonder whether all the time and resources put into the planning has actually paid off.

Contagion (2011) Thriller/Drama – DSTVNow 

Stars: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne

Released 9 years ago, Contagion is a fictional film based on a real-life ‘what could happen’ that has become one of the most watched films during the current Covid-19 pandemic.  South African’s who’ve been wanting to relive this star-studded film can check it out on DSTVNow Catch-Up – but hurry, as unlike casino games, we can’t guarantee how long it will feature on the streaming service.

Although the symptoms, mortality rate and R0 of the fictional viral pandemic referred to as Meningoencephalitis Virus One, or MEV-1, is much more severe than that of our current Covid-19, it does, very realistically, show how easy it is for a clever infectious disease to make its way to all corners of the globe.

Beth Emhoff, portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, returns home to Chicago from a business trip to Hong Kong.  Soon after, she develops a high fever, confusion, seizures and then dies.  At the same time, people across the world are succumbing to the same mysterious disease – from Tokyo and London to Hong Kong.

Although the MEV-1 virus is fictional, it does closely resemble Nipah, which is an actual pathogen.  As with Nipah, MEV-1 causes respiratory symptoms, encephalitis, and seizures – and both have an exceptionally high mortality rate of 45% to 90%.

As they’re doing with Covid-19, or SARS-coV-2, they begin contact tracing and at one point Beth is seen playing casino games and wining and dining – she even meets the chef, which becomes significant right at the end of the movie.  Brief focus is placed on how her traced contacts spread the virus through touching surfaces, door handles, credit cards, drinking glasses, etc, in general public, airports and bars.

Before long, it is a global pandemic – and a large portion of the population descends into chaos, with scenes that are eerily similar to what we’ve experienced… If you want to know more, put the casino games on pause and check out Contagion on DSTVNow NOW!

Outbreak (1995) Thriller/Action – US Netflix 

Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey

Imagine a viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF), such Ebola…  This category of diseases is referred to as ‘severe multisystem syndrome’ because they affect multiple organs and cause terrifying symptoms.  Although it spreads through bodily fluids, Ebola has an R0 of 1.5 to 2.5, and past case mortality rates have been between 25% and 90%. 

It is a rare but severe and often fatal disease that causes fever, extreme headaches, pain in the muscles, joints and stomach, diarrhoea and vomiting – and ultimately, the patient haemorrhages to death.

Now, again imagine a VHF such as Ebola – only, it is airborne, and it spreads like the common flu!  That is the film, Outbreak, in a nutshell.  It all starts with a small but contained outbreak of the fictional virus, Motaba, in Zaire, which essentially liquifies the pancreas, liver and spleen, with other symptoms similar to Ebola.  Motaba wipes out an entire village with the suspected source being a water well.

In a major plot twist, the virus mutates and becomes airborne – and a race against the clock starts to stop the spread and save thousands of lives – both from the virus, and from the government wanting to resort to extreme ‘containment measures’.

All the facts might not be scientifically sound – such as the time it takes to develop and antiserum – but it is still a riveting film that will have you on the edge of your seat.  You might need to play some casino games to wind down after watching this nail biting, action-packed thriller!

Outbreak is on US Netflix – so you’ll have to fire up a VPN to see what happens next.  If you’re struggling to establish a viable VPN connection due to the influx of internet users, hop over to Springbok Casino to play casino games – and try your luck with the VPN a bit later!

Where do the Killer Viruses (Fictional or Not) Mostly Come From? 

The short answer is animals.  In some shape or form, most viruses, including Covid-19, are zoonotic viruses.  Even in Pandemic, the next ‘big one’ was suspected to be a zoonotic virus – a virus that originates in an animal and crosses over to a human… and here we are.

Whether humans become infected as a result of food contaminated with guano, eating an infected animal, sustaining a bite from a wild monkey, or general interaction with infected animals – most viruses, when traced back, made the animal-to-human jump at some point.

Now is a good time to forget about owning that exotic pet monkey or trying out a bat soup delicacy!  Pet your cat or dog, stay indoors, eat ‘normal food’ and play casino games – that is about the best advice we can give you to stay zoonotic virus free!