Just when medical experts thought that they had grasped all the details about SARS-COV-2, new developments come up that hinder their progress. Some of the recently reported ones include the likelihood of multiple strains and how the virus can stay active in patients who have already recovered. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) already issues several guidelines as to how healthcare professional should approach and handle the situation. Meanwhile, others are reportedly turning to the "Pandemic" board game to hopefully learn more.

While it is not exactly what researchers would call a credible source of knowledge for a real-world scenario, there are some who claim that it somehow predicted the COVID-19 crisis. According to an article published by the Daily Star, the game is now being adapted as an effective learning aid for medics and University students. It was released about 10 years ago shortly after another deadly outbreak which was identified as SARS sometime in 2002 and 2004. Moreover, the plot supposedly guides players to work together and prevent a global virus outbreak.

"Pandemic" board game creator Matthew Leacock explained that presenting a disease as the opponent was a "perfect opponent: It's fairly easy to model in a game, uncaring and scary." Moreover, it was likewise noted that he "never set out to make it an educational experience... the best lessons it teaches are those related to cooperation and communication under pressure."

Similar to what public health officials are doing right now, players are encouraged to learn ways to slow down the transmission of viruses which were represented by coloured pieces. Participants begin the game set in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta. They are then tasked to travel the world in a bid to ultimately find a cure and destroy the virus.

ExCel centre in London turns into hospital
Members of the military and private contractors help to turn the ExCel centre in London into a field hospital to be known as the NHS Nightingale, to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: POOL / Stefan Rousseau

In an interview with another publication, the creator of "Pandemic" admitted that he designed the board game to have his wife participate. "I've seen social media posts where people worry that playing it, or watching a disaster movie like 'Contagion,' is morbid and perhaps socially unacceptable," he said. "To me, such activity is a natural way to cope with our new reality. It gives people a chance to confront their fears, make sense of the situation and perhaps even feel somewhat in control as they defiantly attempt to defeat the big bad themselves."