Strange Similarities Between COVID-19 and Dan Brown’s book – Inferno


COVID-19 has rocked the entire world.  The mystery, conspiracy, twists and turns of this real-life drama seem to be from the pages of a thriller novel. Are they?

There are some shocking similarities with the real-life events of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the 2013 novel by Dan Brown, Inferno. This book was a former New York Times Bestseller.  There was also a film based on the novel in 2016.

To compare and contrast Inferno with our current COVID-19 crisis, let’s take a look at several events from both stories:

  • The book focuses mainly in Italy, which has been one of the hotbeds of COVID-19. While the book highlights landmarks and the beautiful artistry in Rome, Venice, Florence, and surrounding areas of Italy, the book also notes the hospitals, nurses and doctors in the area that must respond to a crisis.
  • The real “villain” in the Inferno novel is an engineered disease. The creator of the disease intends to reduce global population by using a fast-spreading plague.  While there are plenty of conspiracies about COVID-19 being engineered (none are proven true at this point), the fast-spreading plague is eerily similar.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a key focus for the Inferno The WHO leadership seeks to stop the spread of the plague and works with the book’s hero, Robert Langdon, to help in stopping it.
  • In the novel, a group called The Consortium had worked to keep the plague protected under secrecy. This group could be compared to China to some degree, as the group kept a lot of information from WHO and Robert Langdon.  But eventually The Consortium sees the need to share the intel and bands with WHO to help.  This is quite similar to the real-life situation with China, WHO, and the rest of the world as we all fight together to beat a common enemy.
  • Eventually, the plague is released into the world, and is noted to spread in a similar fashion as COVID-19. In the book the plague is designed to make one third of humanity sterile, while the COVID-19 virus is a respiratory disease.  Many of us hope for a happy ending with COVID-19, and hope continues that the odds will be in our favor.  Most likely we will come up with a treatment very soon, and then perhaps in the coming year or two a vaccine.  Until then, our only heroes are ourselves while we keep isolated and socially distanced.
  • The original intent of the plague in the book Inferno was to control the human population. COVID-19 is certainly having an impact due to the amount of deaths, but there is no evidence of this real-life disease being created, let alone for the purpose of reducing overpopulation.
  • The depiction in the novel on how the plague is spread sounds very familiar in how COVID-19 has been transmitted throughout the world. While COVID-19 is not necessarily spread through contaminated water, the corona virus definitely spreads rapidly through contact with humans.

One could arguably compare Dante’s levels of hell to the real-life pandemic that has affected so many.  Considering the nine circles of hell depicted in Dante’s work, some may notice the world “stuck in limbo” as politicians “push heavy weights” against each other.  There are flaming tombs like the fever symptoms, along with “gurgling” caused by pneumonia from the virus.  All of these could be considered variations of Dante’s Inferno.

Dan Brown held true to his standards by delivering a thriller mystery with Inferno.  The story is left with much to deal with on the threat of a global pandemic.  And that part of the book is definitely echoed in real life with COVID-19.

Fact has proven itself to be stranger than fiction.  COVID-19 is no bedtime scary story.  It is a truth that we all must face together.  Groups that have long stood as adversaries must work together.  Companies that were once focused on profits are now focused on saving lives.  The world is coming together as everyone acknowledges that COVID-19 is a reality and must be dealt with.

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