Memes have been floating around the internet lately comparing the coronavirus pandemic to certain plot elements of Jaws. While we try to get come to terms with all that’s going on in the world and at the same time remain sheltered in place, there are people who want to throw caution to the wind.
If we learned anything from the 1975 blockbuster it’s that you shouldn’t act hastily just because life doesn’t suit you or your bottom line favorably.
Here are five times that the plot of Jaws mimics the real COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Larry Vaughn
Despite constant warnings that fishermen caught the wrong shark, Amity Island’s Mayor Larry Vaughn is insistent that the beaches reopen even though the waters are still red from the blood of recent victims. Perhaps worried that he won’t get re-elected, Vaughn re-opens the beaches with added security. Things don’t go so well and once again science prevails.
Money, Money, Money
The economy is almost more of an antagonist than the Great White in Jaws. Normally Amity island is a tourist mecca on the Fourth of July weekend, to close the beaches means certain ruin for businesses that rely on that trade.
Much like the coronavirus quarantine, businesses are struggling to remain open. Which brings us to number three.
Like in Jaws, beaches play an important part in the pandemic, especially this week. Over the weekend, in Jacksonville Florida, people rushed to the shores once an order to re-open them went into effect, the same day the state documented a record number of coronavirus cases.
“We all live on it, so it has been torture looking at it and not being able to be out here,” one beachgoer told CNN.
Cue the “Mrs. Kintner slap.”
As healthcare workers and scientists race to reduce the number of deaths, people are under the impression that freedom is another word for immunity. Oceanographer Matt Hooper in Jaws tried to warn the mayor, in the same way, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is pleading their case for safety.
In the movie, tourists and locals were apprehensive to return to the water, but with a little encouragement from Mayor Vaughn, they eventually did, regrettably so.
With COVID-19, the aggressors who are eager to return to normalcy are questioning science or ignoring it. They have also received some political support from the county’s highest authority. Which despite being ill-advised, in Mayor Vaughn’s case, led to re-election and a role in Jaws 2.
Oxygen tanks are important in the movie for a much different reason than they are in the real-life pandemic.
Since COVID-19 reportedly attacks the respiratory system, oxygen is an important resource for patients who test positive and are recovering.
In the movie (spoiler alert) they are used to kill the shark, blowing him to smithereens.
A Word About Safety
Wherever you stand during this unprecedented time in history it’s important to follow the guidelines as presented by the CDC. Unlike the magic of the movies, people are really dying and those numbers could be reduced as long as we are accurately educated, cognizant and use common sense.