References to the COVID-19 pandemic in popular culture began while the pandemic was still underway. Despite the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it brought people together through modes of entertainment that facilitated the growth and development of pop culture.
The COVID-19 pandemic swept the world in the early months of 2020, causing massive economic and social disruption, which is ongoing as of September 2021. In addition to the disease itself, populations have often dealt with lockdowns, shortages and pandemic fatigue. This has made the pandemic era a time of exceptional stress. The pandemic has driven some people to seek peaceful escapism in media, but others towards fictional pandemics (i.e., zombie apocalypses) as an alternate form of escapism.
Themes include contagion, isolation and loss of control.
The pandemic has been woven into the narratives of ongoing pre-pandemic TV shows and made a focus in new ones, with mixed results.Writing about the then-upcoming BBC sitcom Pandemonium on 16 December 2020, The New York Times asked, "Are we ready to laugh about Covid-19? Or rather, is there anything amusing, or recognizable in a humorous way, about life during a plague, with all of its indignities and setbacks, not to mention its rituals (clapping for health care workers) and rules (face masks, please)."
The horror film Host , a computer screen film, was produced and released during the pandemic and centers on characters attacked by a supernatural presence after conducting a seance via Zoom.[ citation needed ]
The film Borat Subsequent Moviefilm , a sequel to the 2006 mockumentary film Borat , was released on Amazon Prime Video in October 2020. It features the fictional Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) traveling around the United States and interacting with Americans during the pandemic. The film's conclusion jokingly postulates that COVID-19 was created by the Kazakhstan government, which used Borat to spread it and start the pandemic.
The film Locked Down , about a jewelry heist during the pandemic, was released on HBO Max on January 14, 2021, after being filmed in September 2020 and set the previous spring.It received mixed reviews.
The Gone Game is an Indian psychological thriller web series directed by Nikhil Bhat, shot almost entirely within the confines of homes and directed remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic in India. It premiered on Voot on 20 August 2020. The show follows the death of a COVID-19 patient with the plotline getting messier in each episode.
The U.S. medical drama television series The Good Doctor and Grey's Anatomy began airing their season 4 and season 17, respectively, in November 2020. Both featured COVID-19's impact on the characters working at, and patients of, the hospital where the shows are set – including recurring characters becoming infected by the disease.
The U.S. procedural drama television series 9-1-1 began airing its season 4 in January 2021. The opening episode number 47, "The New Abnormal" featured a storyline centered around the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on both the recurring characters and everyday individuals.[ citation needed ]
Songbird , an American dystopian romantic thriller film directed by Adam Mason and produced by Michael Bay, in which "COVID-23" has caused the world to remain in lockdown for four years, filmed in Los Angeles during the real-world pandemic with consequently disrupted-production.The initial response was negative, with critics arguing that it was "Cashing in on human suffering" and "throwing nightmare fuel on the fire of conspiracy theorists." It is described as the first American film derived entirely from the pandemic, was released on December 11, 2020 to generally negative reviews. At least eight of the 75 movies announced for the 2021 South by Southwest include COVID-19.
Putham Pudhu Kaalai (transl. A brand new dawn) is a 2020 Indian Tamil-language anthology film, consisting of five short film segments. It was entirely shot during the COVID-19 pandemic in India and is set against the backdrop of the country's 21-day lockdown in March 2020, the five short films talk about hope, love, and new beginnings during the pandemic. The film released on Amazon Prime Video on 16 October 2020.
Karthik Dial Seytha Yenn (transl. The number dialled by Karthik) is a 2020 Indian Tamil-language short film written and directed by Gautham Menon. A sequel to his Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010), it stars Silambarasan and Trisha reprising their roles from that film. The film was primarily shot using an iPhone and released on 20 May 2020 on YouTube. It follows filmmaker Karthik who is at home during the COVID-19 pandemic in Tamil Nadu without work as theatres are shut down, affecting his career as a screenwriter. While experiencing writer's block, he hesitantly calls his ex-girlfriend Jessie, who fled the effects of the pandemic in New York City and is under lockdown in Kerala. After the phone call, Karthik resumes his writing and composes Kamal & Kadambari – A Love Story.
Coronavirus is an Indian Telugu-language film that explores life of a middle-class family amidst COVID-19 lockdown in India. The film was released on 11 December 2020.
Eeswaran is a 2021 Indian Tamil-language action drama film written and directed by Suseenthiran. It tells the story of a familial dispute during and due to the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
A Pencil to the Jugular is a 2021 Australian drama directed by Matthew Victor Pastor. Set during the COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne it is the second instalment in a 2020 trilogy of feature films directed by Matthew Victor Pastor. The film premiered at the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival in April 2021.
Pablo Larrain coordinated a short film anthology entitled Homemade , created during—and featuring stories about—the COVID-19 lockdown period. Each of the 17 directors were asked to produce a five- to seven-minute-long film, using only equipment found at home, and for a general audience. The project was conceived in March and released only three months later in June, via Netflix.
The official music video for the song Phenom by Thao & the Get Down Stay Down was recorded entirely via the "rigid grid format of the teleconferencing app Zoom," while the band members were in home isolation. Described as "the finest music video to emerge from our age of isolation," it took eight days to complete.
For the Official music video “Lose Somebody” by artists Kygo, and One Republic, they used large green screen footage and wild images while working remote from each other due to COVID - 19 restrictions.For Kygo’s music video “Freedom” featuring Zak Abel, it was shot separately from their homes and focused on their lives under the stay at home orders.
Arivum Anbum (transl. Knowledge and Love – transl. Wisdom and Love) is an Indian Tamil-language song released on April 23, 2020 by Think Music India on YouTube in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The song was composed by Ghibran and lyrics by Kamal Haasan. It was sung by 12 singers and recorded by the artistes from their homes. The lyrics of the song talk about the need to use our heart and intelligence to battle the crisis. The video also features visuals of the mass exodus of migrant labourers from cities across the country.
Due to movie theaters shutting down, some movies originally intended for theatrical release have instead premiered on streaming services. Disney’s Mulan premiered on Disney+ in September 2020, and Warner Brothers' film Wonder Woman 1984 was released on December 25 on HBO Max.
Some movies, such as the James Bond entry No Time to Die , have been postponed for over a year due to the pandemic.
As people turned to music to relieve emotions evoked by the pandemic, Spotify listenership showed that Classical, Ambient, and Children’s genres grew due to COVID-19 while it remained relatively the same for Pop, Country, and Dance.Out of these latter genres, however, Country appears to be the most resilient, with popularity soaring by 15.8%.
Other examples of music influenced by COVID-19 include:
Madrid's Teatro Real debuted a modified version of Verdi's La Traviata where COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions were incorporated into the production. Performers begin on stage wearing surgical masks, the staging featured a grid of 2m-wide taped red lines on the floor, with all actors' movements choreographed to remain apart, and the opera itself was selected as the plot features tuberculosis.
Tamas Detrich, director of the Stuttgart Ballet, commissioned eight contemporary dance works "created within and for these straitened circumstances", three of which were premiered at the company's first post-shutdown event Response 1.
Several professional dancers and companies, both classical and contemporary, filmed and published new works which responded to themes of isolation. Either through in the choreography itself (e.g. Rhiannon Faith's Drowntown), in the location (e.g. empty public places Taylor Stanley outside the Lincoln Center, choreography by Kyle Abraham), or the filming technique (e.g. in Flying Home by street dance group BirdGang via "...the now all-too-familiar segmented Zoom-style screen").
The show believed to be the first full capacity premiere of a play anywhere in the world since the pandemic began was a theatrical adaptation of the popular children's television show Bluey entitled Bluey's Big Play, The Stage Show. After months of delay, the play - developed by Windmill Theatre Company from an original story by Bluey’s creator Joe Brumm with new music by Bluey composer, Joff Bush - made its debut in Brisbane in late December 2020 at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected website format, operations, and the way people surf the internet. Websites such as Brokerage, Live Chats, and Video Streaming Websites, E-Commerce, and Financial Technology have altered their website structure to better fit the unfortunate trends that COVID-19 has brought to our society. Despite this, some websites have seen an increase in page views and/or sales, while a select few others in specific industries have not been so lucky.[ citation needed ]
Since the start of the pandemic, many website companies have had to alter their digital marketing strategies to either attract more page visits, orders or discourage misleading advertisements that may reduce website credibility and traffic.
To prevent misleading information, Facebook removed more than seven million ad posts listed as faulty information in relation to the COVID-19 virus. With other marketing techniques, digital marketers have seen it fit to normalize the societal depiction of the proper ways of dealing with this virus. By doing so, they have altered their message to the public by including practices of social distancing, staying at home, cleanliness, and the usage of masks in their advertisements. For example, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, has said to continue its Santa Claus tracking on December 24, 2020, despite the pandemic. For NORAD to keep children safe and aware, they 3D cartoon photos of Santa Claus wearing a mask while riding his sleigh.
A chart from Bazaarvoice.com shows a Year-over-Year (“YoY”) increase in monthly page views and order counts from January 1 - June 30, 2020, averaged from 6,200 different e-commerce (ECOM) websites.
As seen from the chart, before major statewide quarantines, ECOM was already starting to see increases in page views and orders from January - March, increasing 14% in page views and 19% in orders. When former President Donald Trump issued COVID-19 a National Emergency in mid-March, both page views and order counts had a YoY increase to 96% and 88%, respectively. The trending psychology behind this surge in ECOM usage is since most people at this time were in fear of in-person and Brick-in-Mortar alternatives that were still open at the time.
The top trending ECOM sites amid the pandemic from highest YoY growth to least were Toys and Games, Business and Industrial, Sporting Goods, Hardware, Home & Garden, Entertainment, Animal & Pet Supplies, Electronics, and Food/Beverages/Tobacco. Down trending ECOM websites include those that sell products used in pre-pandemic times, such as Luggage websites. Luggage and Bag websites were one of the only websites to see over 10% decreases in page views and order counts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, fortunately, like ECOM, presented tail-winds to website usage. Financial analysts predicted that for many payment providers, it could also drive new purchasing habits that could leave the companies in a stronger position once the crisis is over. Credit card network websites such as Visa.com, PayPal.com, and Mastercard.com have seen page view and payment volume growth pressured by temporary business closures, elevated unemployment, and a cutback on international travel. Due to recent social distancing and shelter-in-place, these companies have also seen people increasingly move their spending online, as seen with the increase in ECOM popularity. However, for websites such as Squareup.com, with many Brick-in-Mortar operations, the crisis has negatively impacted them.
With countless people laid-off, unemployed, financially distraught, or just bored with too much time on their hands from the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place, many have fallen into retail trading as a new hobby or job. For instance, Robinhood, an investing platform founded in 2013, has leveraged the crisis to their advantage by inducing millions of people to be a part of their platform since the start of the pandemic. They did this by marketing their easy-to-use trading platform to those who may want to become an equities investor.
Schools and businesses worldwide have altered their business structure to an online means of learning and work. As a result of the new norm to online chat and video streaming methods, websites such as Zoom.us have seen massive growth in page visits and user volume. These websites have allowed customers; fearful of contracting the virus; a risk-free way of communication, learning, and work.
Many memes(notably in the form of art-recreations, songs, and videos ) were created by, and shared among, the large numbers of amateur content creators from in their homes during the isolation period itself.
During the course of the pandemic, the social media app TikTok grew the most,lending to a number of new trends in digital pop culture including games like Animal Crossing and Among Us , banana bread baking, Tiger King memes, and quarantines.
Although social media usage has increased overall, posting activity has declined. This is due to a number of factors, such as having less to share or even feeling guilty or afraid of backlash after having attended unsafe activities. Many users have felt that it is inappropriate to share happy or celebratory posts in such a solemn atmosphere.As such, the rise in social media activity has caused anxiety in users, which leads them to leave social media sites before rejoining soon after.
In the early stage of the pandemic, a survey conducted by Gao J. Zheng shows a high prevalence of mental health problems, which is positively associated with frequent exposure to social media. [ citation needed ]When the stay-at-home order was enforced, young people showed a higher level of frustration than other age groups because many mistakenly thought they were not part of the at-risk population. Social Media was one factor that promoted such frustration. For example, many posts on TikTok focus on young people’s anxiety due to social distancing and isolation. Such negative attitudes have spread rapidly over TikTok.
Unlike TikTok, whose users are mostly young people, the overall attitude towards the pandemic is different on Twitter.For example, a study on Twitter users during the pandemic shows overall higher positive sentiments. Among Twitter users, 48,157(51.97%) users expressed positive feelings, while 31,553 (34.05%) were neutral, and the rest of the tweets - amounting to 12,936 (13.96%) - showed negative emotions. One major reason behind the prominence of positive sentiment is that most people still appreciated the government and health workers despite their personal anxieties.
COVID-19 has forced difficult and financially depleting decisions for the sports industry. Nearly every major sporting event in the sports-event industry had been canceled, moved, or postponed in the midst of the outbreak. As the unfortunate pan of events that emerged from the crisis, sports fans were distraught as some of their favorite teams were forced to withdraw from specific tournaments or even the season altogether. For example, in March 2020, during the Sweet 16, the Rams were forced to withdraw their position in the tournament after multiple players had caught the COVID-19 virus. A 2019-2020 YoY revenue growth chart listed on Forbes Magazine showed that YoY revenue growth had dramatically downsized for major sports leagues due to these cancellations.
A chart from Forbes Magazine shows a revenue growth comparison of major sports leagues from 2019-2020.
For the 2020 Summer Olympics, foreign spectators were banned[ when? ] from attending the games in Japan without a 100 percent refund. Moreover, The vaccinations rates were increased, and Major League Baseball gave the news to provide vaccine facilities in their stadiums. Vaccinations of the athletes were an ethical issue, if it was legal and ethical. The NBA announced vaccinations were not mandatory, but vaccinated players would be more flexible. According to ESPN, the NBA were allowing vaccinated athletes to not wear masks in the training facilities, with extra freedom traveling. Before the vaccinations, the NBA was continuing in a bubble, where players were not allowed to leave. Players inside the bubble were wearing sensors for social distancing. Reporters who wanted to get inside the bubble were required for temperature and oxygen checks and COVID tests. The benches of the NBA athletes were changed, and they became socially distanced. Without their fans, some of the old NBA coaches were still wearing masks during the games. Popovich, the oldest coach in the NBA, who is 77, said that “I don’t want to die”, when he was asked about wearing masks.
The COVID-19 pandemic, also colloquially known simply as coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019; a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province failed to contain the outbreak, and it spread to other parts of mainland China and around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Since 2021, variants of the virus have emerged and become dominant in many countries, with the Delta, Alpha and Beta variants being the most virulent. As of 24 September 2021, more than 230 million cases and 4.73 million deaths have been confirmed, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history.
COVID-19 misinformation refers to any kind of subject about the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in misinformation and conspiracy theories about the scale of the pandemic and the origin, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. False information, including intentional disinformation, has been spread through social media, text messaging, and mass media. False information has been propagated by celebrities, politicians, and other prominent public figures. Multiple countries have passed laws against "fake news", and thousands of people have been arrested for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. The spread of COVID-19 misinformation by governments has also been significant.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Germany is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. On 27 January 2020, the first case in Germany was confirmed near Munich, Bavaria. By mid February, the arising cluster of cases had been fully contained. On 25 and 26 February, multiple cases related to the Italian outbreak were detected in Baden-Württemberg. A carnival event on 15 February in Heinsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, was attended by a man identified as positive on 25 February; in the outbreak which subsequently developed from infected participants, authorities were mostly no longer able to trace the likely chains of infections. On 9 March, the first two deaths in Germany were reported from Essen and Heinsberg. New clusters were introduced in other regions via Heinsberg as well as via people arriving from China, Iran and Italy, from where non-Germans could arrive by plane until 17–18 March. From 13 March, German states mandated school and kindergarten closures, postponed academic semesters and prohibited visits to nursing homes to protect the elderly. Two days later, borders to Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland were closed. By 22 March, curfews were imposed in six German states while other states prohibited physical contact with more than one person from outside one's household.
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019. The virus reached the UK in late January 2020. As of 21 September 2021, there had been nearly 7.5 million confirmed cases and 135,455 deaths among people who had recently tested positive – the world's 22nd highest death rate by population and the second-highest death toll in Europe after Russia. There has been some disparity between the outbreak's severity in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – health-care in the UK is a devolved matter. Each constituent country has its own publicly-funded healthcare system operated by devolved governments.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Cyprus in March 2020. The released data from the Cyprus government includes cases in the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia but, due to the long-running Cyprus dispute, does not include cases in Northern Cyprus.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Cuba is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was confirmed to have spread to Cuba on 11 March 2020 when three Italian tourists tested positive for the virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The first two cases in Ghana were confirmed on 12 March 2020, when two infected people came to Ghana, one from Norway and the other from Turkey.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have spread to the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar in March 2020. The first death in Gibraltar occurred on 11 November 2020. As of 18 March 2021, there are 4,270 confirmed cases, 4,146 recoveries, and 94 deaths. As of April 2021, Gibraltar is the first territory where enough of the population has been vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
The COVID-19 pandemic was first confirmed to have spread to Scotland on 1 March 2020 with the positive COVID-19 test of a male Tayside resident who had recently travelled between Scotland and northern Italy. The first reported case of community transmission was on 11 March 2020 and the first reported coronavirus death in Scotland was on 13 March 2020.
Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has varied by country, time period and media outlet. News media has simultaneously kept viewers informed about current events related to the pandemic, and contributed to misinformation or fake news.
During a time of social distance and limited contact with others, social media became an important place to interact. Social media platforms are meant to connect people and helped the world remain connected, largely increasing usage during the pandemic. Since many people are asked to remain home, they have turned to social media to maintain their relationships and to access entertainment to pass the time.
The World Health Organization is a leading organization involved in the global coordination for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic, within the broader United Nations response to the pandemic caused by the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in late 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the performing arts, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors. Due to physical distancing requirements and closure of the physical venues, curtailing not only public performances but also rehearsals, many performing arts institutions attempted to adapt by offering new digital services. In particular this resulted in the free online streaming of previously recorded performances of many companies – especially orchestral performances and plays – lists of which were collated by journalists as well as bespoke crowdsourcing projects.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted crime and illicit economies such as organised crime, terrorism, street crime, online crime, illegal markets and smuggling, human and wildlife trafficking, slavery, robberies and burglaries.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the LGBT community. Gay pride events were cancelled or postponed worldwide. LGBTQ+ themed organizations, businesses, and communities have been impacted both by COVID-19 itself and its economic impact at disproportionate rates. Gay bars such as the Stonewall Inn have required fundraising to stay afloat, and some without considerable fundraising capability have closed permanently.
There have been protests, demonstrations and strikes around the world against national responses to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by governmental bodies. Some have protested against governmental failure to stem the spread of the virus effectively, while others have been driven by the financial hardship resulting from government measures to contain the virus, including restrictions on travel and entertainment, hitting related industries and casual workers hard. Protests against restrictions on people's movements, compulsory wearing of face masks, lockdowns, vaccinations and other measures.
Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind Covid-19 and Plandemic: Indoctornation are a 2020 conspiracy theory video and film, respectively, both of which were produced by Mikki Willis and promote misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Both feature Judy Mikovits, a discredited American researcher who has been described as an anti-vaccine activist. The first video, in addition to promoting various conspiracy theories, also features Willis and Mikovits discussing viruses in general and Mikovits herself. Willis produced the first video with a low budget under the name of his production company Elevate Films. Three months after the video's Internet release, the second film Plandemic: Indoctornation, which also includes other people, was released by another distributor.
The first responses of the government of India to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country involved thermal screenings of passengers arriving from China, the country from which the coronavirus disease 2019 originated, as well as of passengers arriving from other countries. As the pandemic spread worldwide, the Indian government recommended social distancing measures and also initiated travel and entry restrictions. Throughout March 2020, several shutdowns and business closures were initiated, and by the end of the month, the Indian government ordered a widespread lockdown. An economic package was announced in May 2020.
Africa's first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Egypt on 14 February 2020. Many preventive measures have been implemented in different countries in Africa, including travel restrictions, flight cancellations, event cancellations, school closures, and border closures. Other measures to contain and limit the spread of the virus has included curfews, lockdowns, and enforcing the wearing of face masks. The virus has spread throughout the continent. Lesotho, the last African sovereign state to have remained free of the virus, reported a case on 13 May 2020.
During the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, many people began to spread false or un-confirmed data and information. This included politicians and other government officials from administrations in several countries. Misinformation about the virus includes its origin, how it spreads, and methods of preventing and curing the disease. Some downplayed the threat of the pandemic, and made false statements about preventative measures, death rates and testing within their own countries. Some have also spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Changing policies also created confusion and contributed to the spread of misinformation. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) originally discouraged use of face masks by the general public in early 2020, advising "If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection," although the WHO later changed their advice to encourage public wearing of face masks.
In late March, nearly 3,500 people were surveyed in Spain, when the country ranked second in the world in COVID-19 deaths. Many people met the criteria for clinical mental health problems: 19 percent for depression, almost a quarter for anxiety, and 16 percent for PTSD. Within a week after Slovenia declared an epidemic, over half of the thousands of people surveyed had high stress levels. In April, 14 percent of Americans were experiencing serious psychological distress, more than triple the rate in 2018.
Fictitious stories about pandemics give us a way to experience the horror in a controlled way, with the pacing we've grown to expect, where resolution is always possible, and where we can always turn off the TV if it gets a bit too much.
In addition to existing shows, streaming platforms and cable channels have tried putting together new series centred on coronavirus, like HBO’s “Coastal Elites” or Netflix’s “Social Distance” – but with no real success.
Are we ready to laugh about Covid-19? Or rather, is there anything amusing, or recognizable in a humorous way, about life during a plague, with all of its indignities and setbacks, not to mention its rituals (clapping for health care workers) and rules (face masks, please).
It was inevitable that films would be made about this significant chapter in global history, in part because a small group of people enduring an extended stay in their own homes is about the only scenario it’s safe and logistically possible to actually shoot right now. But did the results have to start arriving while we’re all still stuck in this nightmare?
Shot in July, it has the dubious honor of being the first American movie to come out of the pandemic—the first to be conceived, filmed, and released in the current climate.
Of the 75 feature-length films on the SXSW Online 2021 schedule, more than a tenth (at least eight) explicitly involve COVID-19.
I had a couple of characters that I had to get off the stage for reasons that have to do with the plot … so I said, ‘I’ll put them on a cruise ship,'" King began. "And then COVID came along and I said, ‘No, this is probably not going to work.’ So what I did was I took the whole book, which was set in 2020 and shoved it back to 2019.