The Brief: Memes about the deadly Coronavirus, which originated in China and has begun to spread globally are going 'viral' online.

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DEEP DIVE

Plague, Greenland, Plague Inc., and Coronavirus memes joke about the global spread of the mysterious and deadly Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Outbreak

While these memes react to the situation with dark humor, the Coronavirus has spread from China to several other countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States. At the time of writing, at least 17 people have died from the virus and more than 600 have been sickened by it. On Thursday morning, Chinese authorities closed off the city of Wuhan where the outbreak began which has a population of 11 million. More widespread travel restrictions set to quarantine millions of more people are underway in neighboring districts.

‘China Virus’ & Plague Memes

Much like World War III memes, these take a serious issue and make it the butt of jokes about just how bad of a disaster it could become. This makes for many memes that are insensitive about the actual seriousness of the Coronavirus, approaching the issue from a perspective of detached irony.

Ah it’s rewind time from dankmemes

China virus from memes

Time to stock up on limes for that Coronavirus… from dankmemes

This meme suggests that the Dank Memes subreddit should add a surgical mask to their profile picture:

I’m just sayin’ from dankmemes

I need an adult from dankmemes

Plague, Inc. & Greenland Memes

Many Coronavirus memes reference the video game Plague, Inc., a simulation game about the global spread of deadly viruses. In the game, the islands Greenland and Madagascar are notoriously hard to infect, leading to jokes and memes about escaping to these islands to avoid the virus.

A Joker and Peter Parker dancing meme:

Just Like The Simulations from dankmemes

Only gamers get it from dankmemes

Plague Inc. strategy: Always start in China from memes

Another Joker meme:

safezone from dankmemes