Here’s how ‘Little House on the Prairie’ hauntingly predicted the COVID-19 outbreak

Here’s how ‘Little House on the Prairie’ hauntingly predicted the COVID-19 outbreak

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Fans of the classic television show “Little House on the Prairie,” which ran from 1974-1983, have just discovered that two episodes of the iconic series eerily predicted the coronavirus pandemic that we are all facing now.

The New York Post reported that fans have been taking to social media to say that the storylines of episodes titled “Plague” and “Quarantine” are hauntingly similar to the daily reality we are all facing due to COVID-19, which has killed over 60,000 Americans at the time of this writing.

“Thought I would take some time away from the news and constant coronavirus coverage,” one fan tweeted. “Turned on an old rerun of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and it is about a FLU EPIDEMIC — really?”

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“I’ve been preparing for the #Coronavirus since watching the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ episode ‘Quarantine’ as a kid,” another fan added. This fan was referring to the 1977 episode of the series in which townsfolk practice social distancing when a mountain fever starts spreading like wildfire.

Fan comments started going so viral that actress Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls on the show, eventually broke her silence about the similarities between the episodes and the current situation in the world. She explained that she has been thinking a lot about “Little House on the Prairie” as she stays on lockdown in her secluded hunting cabin in the Catskill Mountains in New York.

“I realized how prescient it was,” the 55-year-old actress said. “We can all learn something from what happens in that episode.”

She was referring to the 1975 episode “Plague,” in which Laura’s father Charles teams up with Walnut Grove’s pastor, Rev. Alden, and physician Doc Baker as they struggle to contain the typhus epidemic that has swept their town. The three men remind viewers of modern-day healthcare workers on the frontline as they convert the local church into a makeshift hospital and morgue as they desperately try to find the origins of the disease.

“Even on that tiny scale, so much of what they were doing is now applicable,” Gilbert said. “The town mitigated the situation by getting everyone to quarantine at home, putting the sick in one place and trying to find the source.”

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“Just like now, the residents of Walnut Grove were all in it together,” she added. “They didn’t have the scientific advances we have or any kind of real treatment, but they bonded as a community to get through the crisis.”

“Plague” ends with Charles and Doc Baker burning down a local rat-ridden storeroom after discovering it to be where the typhus originated.

“I wish we could find a warehouse full of rats and just light it on fire and [COVID-19] would be over,” Gilbert lamented.

Even so, she’s hoping that fans will learn from “Plague” 45 years after it first aired. “It is incumbent on us to help,” said the actress. “Even if that is reading a book to someone who is shut in, running errands or even sending a letter to a person who is home and not expecting it.”

“We have to find a way out of this together.”

This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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