Last January, Netflix premiered the docuseries Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak. Under normal circumstances, it might’ve been of interest to a relatively niche audience. But at the time, it was becoming clear that the novel coronavirus had not been sufficiently contained in China and that without proper and enforced guidelines and protocols from other countries, the world was staring down a devastating public health crisis. Pandemic spent 12 days in the Netflix top 10 in the United States last March.
Fast forward to today—with more than 105 million cases of COVID-19 and well over 2 million deaths globally—and rewatching Pandemic feels like a fever dream of shoulda, woulda, coulda, didn’t.
“You see that the countries that took it really seriously early did well: South Korea, New Zealand, Australia,” says Dr. Jacob Glanville, founder and CEO of the therapeutics company Centivax and one of the scientists profiled in Pandemic. “That indicates the importance of centralized leadership and policies in being able to contain this thing. And that’s something we need to think about very carefully in 2021.”