Imagine that a man staggers into a hospital in your city with what seems like a bad cold and consults with a doctor before vanishing in fear. (It later turns out that he’s an illegal immigrant.) The doctor, after showing symptoms almost immediately, dies soon after, of what proves to be a highly lethal and hitherto unknown virus. It’s hard to say how things would go from this point, but your city could find itself facing what Atlanta faces in a single-season TV drama from a few years back: the quarantine of the hospital and an entire section of the city. Just like that, something very much like the outbreak of coronavirus (officially named COVID-19) that’s ravaging China and worrying the rest of the world could begin playing itself out here.
The scenario I just outlined comes from Containment, which was adapted from a Belgian series called Cordon by Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) for the CW in 2016. I watched it back then but forgot all about it until earlier this year, when events in China suddenly seemed to be replaying the whole thing. As the 13-episode drama unfolds (it’s now available for streaming on Netflix),