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(Netflix)

US Surgeon General Shares His Scientific Thoughts on Bird Box

DAVID NIELD
2 JAN 2019

Even if you haven't seen Netflix's instant cult classic Bird Box as yet, you've probably stumbled across at least some of the resulting flood of memes.

To give you a spoiler-free synopsis, the sci-fi thriller is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where characters have to constantly keep their eyes shielded so they don't see mysterious monsters that instantly and irresistibly compel people to kill themselves (hence the blindfolds).

 

The whole thing is incredibly tense and creepy, and has left many people wondering whether, scientifically speaking, something like this could actually be possible.

Now the US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams has weighed in on the film, but he's not so concerned about the monsters themselves, instead he's focussed on some less obvious threats to the characters.

Before we get to Adams' comments, made via Twitter, we should warn you that some spoilers for Bird Box follow, so if you don't want to know anything at all about the film before seeing it, turn away now.

Okay, got it? You've been warned. 

download 1(teachergoals/Twitter)

For those who've seen it, or are fine with knowing what happens, the film is based on a 2014 book of the same name written by Josh Malerman.

The plot takes place in the near future. Society is ravaged by a terrifying, mysterious horde of 'monsters' that never appear on screen – they're simply hinted at by shadows and creepy wind.

But as soon as someone views one of the creatures, they're instantly compelled to kill themselves by whatever means they can.

 

Before long, civilisation comes crashing down, leaving a small band of survivors marooned in a house with the windows covered up – including characters played by Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich and Trevante Rhodes.

Their only warning system that these creatures are nearby is the chirping of birds – hence the film's name.

In this terrifying new world, the only people who survive, are those who appear to already have serious mental health issues. 

Upon seeing the monsters, these characters are instead filled with the overwhelming urge to make sure everyone else sees them too – occasionally by pretending to be unaffected and then pulling away people's blindfolds or uncovering their windows. (It's just as terrifying as it sounds.)

This portrayal of mental health has stirred up plenty of controversy, which you can read about here.

But Adams was more focussed on some of the other threats to survivors' health: with two of the crew pregnant and everyone living in close quarters, he tweeted about some of the other risks to be considered.

Adams commented that he hoped they'd all got their flu and TDAP vaccines before the chaos started.

 

The flu vaccine not only helps to keep you protected against the latest strains of the influenza virus, it also protects the people around you – that's the reason it's on the World Health Organisation's list of Essential Medicines.

As for the TDAP vaccine, it protects against such nasty diseases as tetanusdiphtheria and pertussis. It's routinely given to youngsters between the ages of 11 and 12, as well as to pregnant women, because newborn babies are particularly at risk from the complications that go along with pertussis (or whooping cough).

These diseases can cause fevers, bad coughs, sore throats, muscle spasms, headaches and more besides. If you're trying to defend yourself against mind-bending demons, then you want to keep other health issues down to a minimum.

And it's not clear if the local pharmacy in Bird Box is still up and running. So, even though you risk certain death every time you open your eyes – or have to risk watching your loved ones kill themselves before your eyes  – vaccines shouldn't be neglected. That's the message from the US Surgeon General.

 

Finally, Adams puts himself forward for a role in Bird Box 2, because of his expertise as an anaesthesiologist: the sort of person you want around during labour. Handy, seeing as two of the characters give birth during the film.

As you'll know if you've seen the film, two of the kids born in Bird Box do make it to the end of the movie alive, just about. Whether or not they've been vaccinated isn't touched upon, but their blindfolds prove very handy indeed

Obviously these comments don't answer the burning questions we have after watching, such as how the monsters are able to affect people's behaviour so dramatically and instantly through the ocular nerve. Also, why the birds are the only animals that seem to be able to detect them and survive.

Let's not even get started on what the hell the monsters are in the first place.

Basically, it's a film that has left us scratching our heads long after we watched it. And apparently the US Surgeon General felt the same way.

download(nixpix/Twitter)