Confused malcontents swilling Chardonnay while awaiting the Zombie Apocalypse.
That's not what Frank McZappa told me . . .
It is a shame you do not understand how cruel that meme is.
But a sizeable minority across the world continues to insist the threat is overblown.
In videos circulating online, on social media pages, at US political rallies and sometimes in the mainstream media, doubts about the severity of the disease continue to be expressed by coronavirus sceptics, naysayers and deniers.
"More than a few politicians and millions of citizens still don't believe [the coronavirus pandemic] is happening," University of Sydney politics professor John Keane wrote recently.
"Dogged in their stupidity, thinking only of themselves, they are sure that it's all a hoax, or a media-hyped exaggeration whose falsity will soon be exposed."
Fake news and misinformation have spread as fast and as far as the virus itself, infecting social media newsfeeds across the world.
Coronavirus scepticism has cut across the political spectrum, and can be found among those of conservative and progressive political persuasions.
University of Adelaide political expert Carol Johnson said while some left-wing civil libertarians opposed to the lockdowns had questioned the severity of the virus, the strongest opposition has come from the political right.
Professor Johnson said the global response to the pandemic had accorded well with the pre-existing beliefs of some fringe political groups "who see it as an infringement of their individual liberties".
"For example, right-wing groups who believe everything is a conspiracy by government, and big government is trying to intrude into our lives — basically they interpret the coronavirus in terms of that," she said.
Professor Johnson said it was likely that many climate change deniers had now morphed into coronavirus deniers.
"It is often related, in terms of those groups, to the anti-science argument, [and] there could be links to anti-vaxxers as well," she said.
"There's also a general distrust of science and experts who are seen as elitists who are out of touch with the needs of ordinary people."
University of Queensland virologist Ian Mackay agreed that those denying the seriousness of the virus had a similar perspective to anti-vaxxers.
"It does seem to be the same kind of mindset that will deny vaccines work, that will embrace treatments that clearly don't work for diseases and that will deny that the earth is round and that the moon landing happened," Associate Professor Mackay said.
"They are the kind of person who isn't happy with [what] they are told by experts and prefer to go and seek their own narrative."
Conspiracy theorists probably only obtain news from sources that reinforce their own beliefs, Professor Mackay said.
He said that, among such individuals, there seemed to be a reluctance bordering on outright refusal to recognise the impact the coronavirus has had at a global level.
"The social media bubbles, the way they gather their news is very specific and comes from certain sources that reinforce their own biases," he said.
"It may be that they are just not seeing the reality. But it's not hard to look at somewhere like Italy or the US or the UK, and see how badly this virus can go."
Professor Johnson agreed, and said the crisis was being exploited by racists and other bigots for their own political ends.
"It can be interpreted as a foreign virus that is coming in from overseas to destroy our way of life," she said.
"In some parts of Europe … [some believe] that the virus has been sent by God as a punishment for support of same-sex rights and for challenging traditional gender roles between men and women."
Professor Johnson said it could be that people are still struggling to deal with a disease that has disrupted their way of life.
"No-one since the beginning of the 20th century in the west has experienced anything like this," she said.
This is something that is totally new, totally unprecedented and I think lots of people are having trouble coming to grips with it.
"It can be comforting to say that 'actually the virus isn't the problem, we just need these silly policies to change and things will be back to normal'."
Professor Mackay said denying the seriousness of the virus was not merely misguided, but potentially dangerous, especially if it encouraged people to disregard social distancing requirements.
"It shows confusion and that can lead to the wrong decision about things," he said.
"There have been people who have, rather than accept the facts, chosen to call it out as something mysterious or magical or bad in some way, but that has put people at risk."