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The Hell's Pass Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, is a real infectious respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).[1] As a response to the virus, authorities in most countries mandated citizens to wear masks, while closing down schools and other non-essential businesses.

At its origins, COVID-19 was first identified in China in December 2019. In the first quarter of 2020, as the virus quickly became widespread, it became a global pandemic causing more than 2.5 million people (out of over 300 million infected) to die globally, schools and businesses to shutdown, and face masks to become mandatory in most countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic was featured in the Season Twenty-Four episodes "The Pandemic Special" and "South ParQ Vaccination Special", as well as South Park: Post Covid and South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid.

Background

"The Pandemic Special"

Scientists discover that COVID-19 spread from a pangolin. Hearing this, Randy Marsh believes that he started the pandemic back in October last year after the events of "Band in China" by having intercourse with a bat and later with a pangolin in Wuhan, China, where it is believed to be the origin of the virus.

"South ParQ Vaccination Special"

The citizens of South Park clamor for the COVID-19 vaccine that is only available to very select groups of people, mainly the elderly and essential workers. QAnon tries to put a stop to the vaccine because they believe that the Hollywood Elites put mind control chips in it. At the end of the episode, Herbert Garrison gets enough vaccines for everyone from Israel, resulting in all the townsfolk being vaccinated and celebrating.

South Park: Post Covid

The movie is set 40 years into future, where the pandemic is said to be near its end. However, it is later reported that Kenny had died from a new variant known as Delta Plus Rewards Program, triggering another wave of panic buying and lockdown within South Park. It is revealed that Kenny had traveled back in time in an attempt to stop the virus, returning with the new variant.

South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid

Continuing from where Post Covid left off, the new variant, now called "Kenny McCormickron" has caused South Park to be under quarantine for 30 years. Stan and Kyle try to finish Kenny's mission of traveling back in time to stop the virus, while Cartman tries to stop them from changing the future.

References to Societal Impact

In "The Pandemic Special", groups of citizens are pro-mask and some are anti-mask. There are some who wear a mask but leave it sitting on their chin, referenced as a "chin diaper". Social distancing is not always practiced in the episode and there are some in the pro-mask group who turn anti-mask. School has been closed for some time at the beginning of the episode and remote learning is practiced instead. Eventually the school reopens and the kids have to wear masks and sit behind screens, their desks being placed more apart.

In "South ParQ Vaccination Special", social distancing is again not practiced and the vaccine has been discovered. The wait list for the vaccine is referenced in that the vaccine is delivered according to a priority order that most countries follow. Israel is shown to be rapidly and efficiently deploying the vaccine. People are shown to wear masks indoors most of the time, mostly showing students, but they occasionally remove their masks to talk and teachers don't always wear masks. Margaret Nelson dies from COVID-19 but the town still holds an open casket funeral.

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