Life

Coronavirus, Explained: why everyone is talking about Netflix’s enlightening new show

Posted by
Anna Brech
Published
Coronavirus, Explained

A new Netflix documentary called Coronavirus, Explained has won plaudits for its educational yet non-alarmist style, as it spotlights the global spread of the illness.

The current spread of coronavirus we’re all facing right now is shrouded in a sea of unknowns. Should we wear face masks in public? Are care homes getting the critical support they need? How will we ever pave a way out of lockdown?

No one has a clear answer to these dilemmas, and wild speculation about cures or ways out – looking at you, Donald Trump – only makes the situation worse. What we need is digestible facts, alongside scientific wisdom that acknowledges the many grey areas of the outbreak. 

That’s where a new Netflix mini-series comes in. Coronavirus, Explained is already racking up praise on Twitter for its clear and honest style of documentary storytelling. Here’s everything you need to know: 

What is Coronavirus, Explained?

Coronavirus, Explained is a new mini-season from the producers of Netflix’s Explained franchise. The critically-acclaimed series takes a forensic look at various issues of the modern age, and breaks them down using a combination of animation, scientific data and expert insight. 

You may also like

#clapforourcarers: how you can thank NHS workers during the coronavirus crisis

Even before the outbreak of coronavirus in January this year, researchers from the show had been working on an episode about a global health pandemic. This uncanny timing meant they were able to quickly roll out a new mini-series devoted entirely to the coronavirus outbreak.

Working in tandem with the news site Vox, they have combined archive interviews with new developments to examine exactly how Covid-19 became the world’s worst pandemic in recent history. 

Is there a trailer for Coronavirus, Explained?

There sure is, and it gives a good taste of the documentary’s forensic, non-glorified approach to storytelling. Take a look, below.

Why should I watch   Coronavirus, Explained?

It’s hardly like we’re short on coronavirus news right now, but general opinion seems to be that Coronavirus, Explained stands in a league of its own. For starters, it presents the facts in a way that is easy to digest but also non-alarmist. 

Amid the slew of fake news and catastrophisation surrounding coronavirus, this is a documentary that cuts through the noise. It doesn’t pander to fearful narrative, as the tweet above suggests, but neither does it downplay the threat. 

You may also like

4 practical ways to support someone worried about the coronavirus pandemic

The first episode features an interview with Bill Gates, whose foundation has worked extensively on pandemic prevention, along with other heavyweights from the world of scientific and public health research. In other words, it’s a shortcut to educating yourself on the background of the virus.

At the same time, this is a fast-moving and uncertain situation we’re all in; and Coronavirus, Explained is entirely honest about the things it doesn’t yet know. It doesn’t pretend to have answers on everything. 

“Something we talk about internally is what we’re often doing is explaining the state of knowledge on something,” the show’s executive producer and Vox founder Ezra Klein tells Hollywood Reporter. “Sometimes the explanation that you can give people that helps them understand why, say, public health authorities or politicians are doing what they’re doing is to show them that this is where the knowledge stops, and after this it becomes guesswork.”

Will the documentary make me feel more anxious?

Coronavirus explained
Coronavirus, Explained looks at the facts behind the virus

This all depends on how you manage anxious feelings. If you’re at the point of coronavirus overload and feel clammy just at the thought of taking an indepth look at the spread of coronavirus, this probably isn’t for you (check out these uplifting shows for armchair escapism instead).

You may also like

Struggling with coronavirus anxiety? Here’s 3 techniques to help you stay calm

On the other hand, the mini-season may actually serve to calm you down, with a lucid and low-key look at the facts. There’s no drama here (we can all agree we’ve had enough of that recently): instead, it presents the science as we know it. And there’s reassurance that comes with arming yourself with the facts, as opposed to getting lost in a slew of hysterical rumours. So really, it’s a judgement call for you.

Where can I watch Coronavirus, Explained?

The first episode of Coronavirus, Explained was released this weekend (26 April) with two more to follow later this summer. While the programme available now looks at how a novel coronavirus became a global pandemic, the next two instalments of the mini-season will focus on the vaccine development and how people are coping with the current situation. Watch the first episode on Netflix now.

Images: Netflix

Sign up to our daily email for a curated edit of the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you’ll never miss out on the conversation again.

Topics

Share this article

Author

Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

Recommended by Anna Brech

Life

This viral hashtag reminds us teachers are coronavirus heroes, too

Show this to the next idiot who says teachers only do it “for the long holidays”.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Life

“In lockdown, my dog has taught me the importance of slowing down”

One writer explores how her dog has helped her mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
Life

“Why am I so tearful?” How to avoid emotional exhaustion during lockdown

Feeling overwhelmed by all the coronavirus updates? You’re not alone.

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
Life

“Why is my anxiety always worse when I’m trying to sleep?”

We asked an expert why our brains tend to spiral when we’re trying to sleep.

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
Life

Coronavirus anxiety: cognitive therapist says one word can help ease your feelings

Use it to reframe how you feel about yourself and the world at large.

Posted by
Anna Brech
Published