The Futurism said that the COVID-19 pandemic made many people think of scenes in zombie-themed movies. Streets are empty, only a handful of people, hospitals are full of patients, while most of the survivors are hiding in their homes.

Seeing this scene triggered a mind of curiosity. Netizens immediately set up a fictional scenario: If the zombie apocalypse really happened in real life as the current COVID-19 epidemic, what would the world be like? To answer this question, Clare Sammells, an anthropologist at Bucknell University, pointed out the difference between COVID-19 and the zombie pandemic if it ever took place in real life.

zombie vs covid-19 calre
Clare Sammells is the one who published the comparisons

Zombie outbreaks are easier to control than COVID-19

As a product of human imagination, zombies are really creatures of paradox that go against the laws of physics. Although dead, zombies are still capable of moving around as if they were alive. In the movies, the zombie epidemic has been described as having an extremely fast rate of infection. The basic transmission coefficient (R0) - or the average number of people who will get infected by the zombie virus via a single contact is extremely high. Accordingly, an infected person can spread to many, many people around them.

People who have been infected don't have the incubation period but immediately show symptoms, then continue to infect others. This invisible feature makes the epidemic spread at an uncontrollable speed if not prevented in time. In particular, the death rate due to the zombie virus is always 100%. In short, if infected, you would soon become a walking zombie.

zombie vs covid-19 flood
The street will be flooded with walking deads in the zombie apocalypse

However, such a pandemic "if it did happen in real life, it's less likely to cause a global pandemic like COVID-19", said expert Clare Sammells. In other words, if a zombie outbreak takes place, it will be "very easy to prevent and control". "During the zombie epidemic, you'll immediately know who is infected," said a doctor, who teaches a zombie course at Bucknell University.

In addition to being able to identify people who are infected, measures to 'kill' people who have turned into zombies to prevent the spread of infection are also easier to implement and cause fewer social-ethical problems. They are dead, and completely out of humanity and consciousness.  Meanwhile, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, learning who has or has not been infected is always a real challenge. According to statistics, there have been many cases of people unconsciously infecting others without any symptoms during the incubation period.

There will be no vaccine against the zombie virus

Since the introduction of vaccines, many infectious diseases have been stopped. Whenever a pandemic takes place, the vaccine is always considered salvation for mankind. This is especially true in the case of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Many scientists believed that only when the vaccine was successfully developed, could our lives return to normal. However, if the zombie outbreak happens in real life, then vaccines will not act as 'divine' as they appear in the movie, according to expert Clare Sammells. "Vaccines can greatly attenuate viruses, introduced into the human body so that the immune system can make antibodies itself," said anthropologist Clare Sammells.

zombie vs covid-19 gears
No protective gears can save you from the zombie virus

However, in the event of a zombie outbreak in real life, the vaccine when injected into the body may make us sick and turn into a zombie. Given the characteristics of a zombie virus, it is simply because we cannot create a weaker version of this virus. Naturally, the term 'community immunity' (when a large proportion of the population has become immune to an infectious bacterium) will not occur if the zombie outbreak happens in real life.

According to a 2017 study by scientists from the University of Leicester (UK), humanity can be completely wiped out by zombies in just 3 months, with only 300 people able to survive. With a mortality rate of up to 100%, few people can survive to make antibodies against the zombie virus, thereby failing to form community immunity.

zombie vs covid-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine is being developed

Society will not collapse if there is a zombie outbreak

According to expert Clare Sammells, zombie-themed films always have one unrealistic detail: the complete collapse of human society when a pandemic occurs.  In most zombie dramas and movies, there is always a hypothetical scenario where the police, prison, army, and government systems will quickly collapse and disappear. People transformed into the worst version of themselves, ready to shoot and kill fellow humans to survive. 

zombie vs covid-19 collapse
Human society is not easily collapsed by an epidemic

However, what we witnessed in the COVID-19 epidemic was quite the opposite, if not much more positive. Governments immediately implemented drastic anti-epidemic measures. In addition, each citizen was more closely connected with each other during the time of the epidemic. What we are really seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic is not the collapse of society.

Instead, human-to-human connections have been strengthened. They are getting closer to their neighbors, willing to help their friends, and showing concern for each other.  So if you want to watch movies about zombies while you're stuck at home, we will be very supportive. Remember, what goes on in life is completely different from the film.