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How Quickly Would a Zombie Virus Spread?

Zombie Virus

The Short Answer: It Depends on the Strain

A zombie virus typically starts out of nowhere and wreaks havoc on earth — like COVID-19. In the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, people referred to the disease as a zombie viral infection, thanks to the power of movies. Those that were against vaccines saw the flick I Am Legend as a prime example. But now that we’re strictly looking at a cinematic idea of an undead infection, how quickly would it spread across humanity? It actually depends on the type of strain. 

Consider how Zombieland began: A barren wasteland of monsters snacking on human flesh in the streets. Although it’s clearly a comedy, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) narrates how the apocalyptic disease started — one bite. In the beginning, he welcomes his seemingly innocent neighbor who relives being chased by someone who “tried to bite” her. Well, it turns out she was already bitten, and Columbus wakes up to a nasty, transformed zombie. If he didn’t clumsily defend himself, Columbus would have been infected in a second. And since the film doesn’t reveal a cure for the problem, very few humans survived the catastrophe, which is why we only see a few people such as Bill Murray walk the earth. 

Zombieland conveys how quickly the world would end if the zombie apocalypse actually hit us. It shows how almost impossible it is not to get eaten alive by an undead monster if we don’t have heavy weaponry on hand. 

However, other movies like Warm Bodies introduced how humanity could find a cure. But here’s the catch — the characters merely stumble across it instead of actively trying to find it. While it’s a typical “rom-zom,” the film uses psychology to shake up humanity. When R (Nicholas Hoult) tries to communicate the change in his brain to other zombies and regular people, no one believes him. However, his lovestruck mindset awakened the human in him that technically never left. This is similar to when we’re told how having a strong mentality can improve our physical health. That is clearly not the case all the time, but in some cases, it can have an impact. 

Zombie virus

Some who contracted COVID-19 reported staying physically active or eating healthier foods weren’t automatically cured, but it helped them get through the duration of the virus. R’s sudden beating heart resulted from a love-at-first-sight moment with Julie (Teresa Palmer); this is psychological. So, he allowed his strong feelings to influence his choices (i.e. he didn’t eat any more humans). R didn’t give into his zombified instincts and by the end of the film, humans used this new state of mind to influence the curing process of zombies — a figurative vaccine, basically. 

With COVID, some argued that those who were able to remain physically active while quarantining benefitted from that, and apparently felt stronger through the illness. Of course, that doesn’t work for everyone, though. But for those who did make it work, this was a mental choice on their part. Their outlook on their own infection ultimately influenced their physical state as well. 

Therefore, if we had to deal with Warm Bodies’ particular virus, we’d likely survive if we just used our brains first before acting on anything.

Now, what about Patient Zero? Usually, there’s always one person or animal who gets infected first but it’s hard to decipher who is the source. 28 Days Later shows animal-to-human transmission after an infected chimpanzee spreads “Rage” throughout civilization. This movie unveils how “Rage” takes on different forms, between zombies and humans. While the zombies are the ones physically infected, some humans gave into the chaos and harmed others in the process. If this specific virus engulfed the world, we’d have a problem simply because the feeling of rage is easy to surrender to. Humans are just as guilty of doing terrible things as zombies are prone to eating brains (i.e. enslaving women to repopulate the world was the film’s twisted turn in 28 Days Later). 

Since COVID has countless different strains, zombie viruses do too, according to various flicks. Perhaps that’s why each movie has such a different ending from each other, aside from giving us that shred of hope that humanity could endure. The way in which people handle the situation ultimately affects the worldwide spread of infection. Mass chaos only makes it worse, but so does enacting without thinking anything through.

Zombie virus

Warm Bodies (2013) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Elisabeth joined Dead Talk News in 2022 and loves movies and TV! After working for various sites, including Screen Rant and Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Elisabeth joined DTN to critique and review various movies, from horror flicks to Disney live-actions.