The Simpsons 'predicted' Tom Hanks would get coronavirus

The Simpsons ‘predicted’ Tom Hanks would get coronavirus! Actor made a cameo in 2007’s big-screen version in which he ‘isolated’ himself and stated ‘If you see me in person, leave me be!’

  • The iconic cartoon has repeatedly foretold major historic events during its four decades on the air
  • Fans recently noticed that the show ‘predicted’ the coronavirus itself in the 1993 episode Marge In Chains, which saw the outbreak of a far-eastern virus
  • In 2007’s The Simpsons Movie, Hanks makes a cameo appearance, and says – ‘This is Tom Hanks saying if you see me in person, please, leave me be’ 
  • Other famous predictions The Simpsons have made include the election of President Trump, the discovery of a three-eyed mutant fish and The Shard being built in London

Fans of The Simpsons believe that the show predicted actor Tom Hanks would be struck with the coronavirus. 

The iconic animated TV show has been known to foresee major world events – from Donald Trump’s presidency to the discovery of a three-eyed mutant fish to the erection of London skyscraper The Shard.

The show previously ‘predicted’ the coronavirus itself – with 1993 episode Marge In Chains featuring a far-eastern virus sweeping the planet and infecting the residents of Springfield.

They’ve done it again: Fans of The Simpsons believe that the show predicted actor Tom Hanks would be struck with the coronavirus

Fans now believe the writers foretold that actor Hanks, 63, would have to self-isolate one day, as news broke that the Hollywood star and his wife, Rita Wilson, caught COVID-19 while filming Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic on location in Australia.

In 2007’s The Simpsons Movie – the show’s big screen version of the show – Hanks makes a cameo appearance, advertising a ‘new Grand Canyon’ because the main one has ‘gotten boring’.

After appearing in an ad for the canyon – in which he claims ‘the US government has lost its credibility so its borrowing some of mine’ – the Apollo 13 actor then says: ‘This is Tom Hanks saying if you see me in person, please, leave me be.’

While the theory is somewhat of a stretch, hardcore fans of the show are happily adding this to the ever-growing list of Simpsons predictions.

Prediction: Fans now believe the writers foretold that actor Hanks, 63, would have to self-isolate one day, as news broke that the Hollywood star and his wife, Rita Wilson, caught COVID-19 while filming on location in Australia

Who’d’ve thought it? In 2007’s The Simpsons Movie, Hanks makes a cameo appearance, and says – ‘This is Tom Hanks saying if you see me in person, please, leave me be’

Another day, another prediction: While the theory is somewhat of a stretch, hardcore fans of the show are happily adding this to the ever-growing list of Simpsons predictions

In Marge In Chains, a virus called Osaka Flu spreads through Springfield after residents order juicers from Japan. 

Scenes show the juicers being packed into boxes as sick workers cough all over them – sending the virus to America.

Fans of the show took to Twitter to discuss the similarities – despite the fact the virus on The Simpsons came from Japan while the current coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan in China. 

Some are so convinced they even took the time to edit ‘Osaka flu’ to ‘Coronavirus’ in Kent Brockman’s news report. 

Life imitating art: In an episode from 1993 titled Marge In Chains, a virus called Osaka Flu spreads through Springfield after residents order juicers from Japan

Seem familiar? Scenes show the juicers being packed into boxes as sick workers cough all over them – sending the virus to America

Close to home: Principal Skinner opens the juicer delivery from Japan and catches the disease in the episode

Headline news: Springfield is warned of the arrival of the disease. One person on Twitter even edited ‘Osaka flu’ to ‘Coronavirus’ in Kent Brockman’s news report from the episode

One person Tweeted: ‘The Simpsons are from the future. They have predicted everything that has happened to us. Like trump becoming pres, Kobe’s death and now the coronavirus. What’s next?! The world ending?’

Someone else penned: ‘The Simpsons scares me. This episode aired 27 years ago in 1993!’ 

Other examples of The Simpsons fortune-telling skills include 2000’s episode Bart To The Future, in which Lisa is the president of the United States, having succeeded Donald Trump.

This episode aired 16 years before even the idea of Trump taking over The White House was a possibility. 

Conspiracy theory: Fans of the show took to Twitter to discuss the similarities – despite the fact the virus on The Simpsons came from Japan while the current coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan in China

In 2008, Homer was seen attempting to vote for Barack Obama in the US general election in the annual Halloween episode of the show, only for the machine to keep switching his vote.

Four years later, a voting machine in Pennsylvania was discovered to be changing people’s votes from Obama, who was running for a second term, to Republican rival Mitt Romney.  

Hanks’ diagnosis has left Australian director Luhrmann to urge the cast and crew of his film to stay home.

In a private letter obtained by the Gold Coast Bulletin, the 57-year-old filmmaker said that they were facing a ‘difficult situation’ in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

‘We request all cast and crew stay at home today’: Baz Luhrmann has temporarily halted production of his upcoming Elvis Presley biopic after star Hanks caught coronavirus

‘Be assured we will keep you updated as that information develops,’ Baz wrote.

‘We request all cast and crew stay at home today and not come to work. All work activity on the production is cancelled and will not resume until further notice.

‘We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and we will be following up with more details over the next several hours.

‘On a personal note, please know that the health and well-being of our entire company is our absolute focus at this time. Many thanks for your support as we manage this difficult situation.’

At the time of writing, there have been 128,883 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, with 4,729 deaths in total.

Tom and Rita tested positive for the novel coronavirus, they revealed on Thursday.

The Forrest Gump star and his wife, both 63, announced the positive test results on Instagram and urged the public to ‘take care’ amid the pandemic.

The couple are currently on the Gold Coast, where the Oscar-winning actor is filming the as-yet-untitled Elvis Presley film being produced by Warner Bros.

Hanks revealed he and Rita experienced symptoms including the common cold, body aches and chills before they decided to get tested.

He wrote: ‘Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus, and were found to be positive.

‘Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?

Outbreak: ‘We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and we will be following up with more details over the next several hours,’ Baz wrote in a personal letter sent to the cast and crew of the film

‘Take care’: Hanks and his wife, both 63, announced their positive test results on Instagram

‘We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves! Hanx!’

He also shared a picture of what appears to be a medical waste basket and a latex glove in a hospital.

Tom touched down in Australia on January 26 for the film, which is still in pre-production meaning cameras have not started rolling yet. He plays Elvis Presley’s longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

He was rumoured to be staying at Peppers Broadbeach – the very same hotel building where a 44-year-old Chinese national, who later became one of Australia’s first cases of coronavirus, was staying.

That man was rushed to the hospital on January 28 and was confirmed to have the virus on January 29. He had recently returned from Wuhan and was travelling with his wife and child and was staying at the Oracle building, but was not a guest at Peppers Broadbeach, which is located in the same building. 

Down Under: Rita was in Sydney last weekend enjoying the sights and sounds of the city 

Picture perfect! A fan got a photo with the couple in Sydney earlier this week 

Warner Bros. said in a statement that when they became aware someone in production was diagnosed with the virus they worked with Australian health agencies to assure that the movie production remains safe.

‘We have been made aware that a company member from our Elvis feature film, which is currently in pre-production on the Gold Coast, Australia, has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus),’ said a spokesperson.

‘We are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual. The health and safety of our company members is always our top priority, and we are taking precautions to protect everyone who works on our productions around the world.

‘The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is currently receiving treatment.’ 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?

Someone who is infected with the coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.

More than 4,500 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 125,000 have been infected. Here’s what we know so far:

What is the coronavirus? 

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ 

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.

Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died. 

By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.

By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000.  

By February 5, there were more than 24,000 cases and 492 deaths.

By February 11, this had risen to more than 43,000 cases and 1,000 deaths. 

A change in the way cases are confirmed on February 13 – doctors decided to start using lung scans as a formal diagnosis, as well as laboratory tests – caused a spike in the number of cases, to more than 60,000 and to 1,369 deaths.

By February 25, around 80,000 people had been infected and some 2,700 had died. February 25 was the first day in the outbreak when fewer cases were diagnosed within China than in the rest of the world. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. 

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’  

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. 

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. 

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.

Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. 

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.   

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.   

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.

However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.

Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.

Can the virus be cured? 

The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. 

Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

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