How '70s TV Series 'Little House on the Prairie' Foreshadowed the Coronavirus Pandemic

April 30, 2020

Did “Little House on the Prairie” predict coronavirus?

Fans of the series, which ran from 1974 through 1983, couldn’t help but point out the similarities between the present-day novel virus and the typhus epidemic portrayed in two episodes.

The chilling episodes fittingly titled, “Plague” and “Quarantine,” eerily foreshadow the current reality brought upon by the pandemic.

In “Plague,” a pastor and a physician attempt to contain the outbreak of typhus as the cause isn’t immediately known. They turn the local church into a makeshift hospital and morgue to take care of those that have fallen ill with the common infectious disease of the mid- to late- 19th century.

Many other scenes are reminiscent of the current outbreak including symptoms manifesting as a burning fever, family members only being able to communicate from a distance due to risk of infection with those tending to the sick, characters practicing isolation, and a staggering and overwhelming death toll.

Astute fans took to social media to point out how relevant the episodes are in the present-day.

“Thought I would take some time away from the news and constant coronavirus coverage,” one fan tweeted, adding that he just so happened to turn on the episode about a “flu epidemic.”

Another Twitter user revealed that he’s been preparing for coronavirus his whole life thanks to the series, which he used to watch as a kid.

Even actress Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the series, said she’s reflecting on how the series realistically portrayed isolation from her own real-life quarantine.

“Even on that tiny scale, so much of what they were doing is now applicable,” Gilbert told the Post. “The town mitigated the situation by getting everyone to quarantine at home, putting the sick in one place and trying to find the source.”

“I realized how prescient it was,” the actress said. “We can all learn something from what happens in that episode.”

Superfan Christine Chan, of Irvington, NY, who has been re-watching the series with her 9-year-old, Lizzie, says that while quarantining and social distancing are present in the two episodes, she hopes people will take away the key points which hone in on the idea of “community,” “self-sacrifice for the greater good,” and helping those less fortunate during dark and uncertain times.

“We have to find a way out of this together,” she told the publication.

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