“It’s not often we manage to capture the public's attention the way we did with COVID-19,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, M.D. “We want to capitalize on that momentum with a follow-up that really does justice to our first, groundbreaking, modern-day pandemic.”
To that end, Redfield explained, the CDC has already begun working on a much-anticipated sequel to the highly acclaimed COVID-19, tentatively titled "COVID-20" or "budlightvirus."
“It’s going to have similar flu-like tendencies, but even more so,” said Redfield. “Possibly with some autoimmune components thrown in, just to really keep people on their toes. We want them riveted.”
Redfield noted that the public response to COVID-19 couldn’t have been more positive. Populations worldwide whole-heartedly embraced the malady known as coronavirus, incorporating it into their daily lives with everything from face masks, lockdowns, and grocery store shutdowns to sporting event and travel cancellations. “COVID-19 was much more than just a passing fad,” said Redfield. “It became a lifestyle.”
And according to Redfield, the CDC aims to outdo itself with its follow-up pandemic. COVID-20 is expected to produce an even more massive strain on economies, social life, and global food systems than that ever achieved by COVID-19. “We’re playing around with a few different concepts at this point,” said Redfield. “One possibility is having a whole sector of the population living on peanut butter and popcorn. Throw in a nut allergy or two, and the plot essentially writes itself.”
Until the release of COVID-20, however, the CDC urges Americans to continue to make the most of COVID-19 while it is still widely available. “It's no exaggeration to say that coronavirus is already an all-time CDC classic,” said Redfield. “So if you haven't yet dived in, now's the time.”