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In recent years, Stephen King has been as outspoken about his political beliefs as he has been prolific in his writing. Many of King’s books deal with supernatural horrors, including demonic clowns and telekinetic teens. But one of his most famous works also deals with a pandemic some are saying mirrors the current coronavirus crisis.

Published in 1978, The Stand is a post-apocalyptic tale following the survivors of a weaponized strain of influenza. Because coronavirus is obviously dominating the headlines, many King fans are curious just how similar the real-life pandemic is to the one in The Stand.

Stephen King at a special screening of 'IT'
Stephen King at a special screening of ‘IT’ | Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

Stephen King has acknowledged similarities to ‘The Stand’

The author, for his part, has directly addressed the purported connection between his famous book and the coronavirus. Even before coronavirus was declared a national emergency in the United States, King was making it clear where he stood.

“No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND,” King tweeted on March 8, 2020. “It’s not anywhere near as serious. It’s eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.”

However, coronavirus has become a much graver concern over time. So fans wondered if, in between tweets about the political landscape, King would have anything else to say about how the current medical crisis compares or contrasts to his novel.

Now he’s drawn a direct comparison to coronavirus

On March 22, 2020, King again mentioned how the coronavirus fits with his version of a pandemic in The Stand. But his response was a lot less definitive than it had been just two weeks earlier. Perhaps shaken by how the United States is handling the crisis, King sees much more in common this time around. He even shared a clip from an audiobook of The Stand.

“Chapter 8 of THE STAND,” King tweeted. “This is how it works. Heed. (But remember COID-19 [sic] is not as lethal as the superflu.)”

Although he had previously discouraged fans from comparing the two, here King is using his novel to draw a direct connection to coronavirus. Certainly, the author is known for inspiring fear in his readers. But considering how The Stand‘s pandemic turned out, we hope the conclusion is very different. At least King concedes that coronavirus isn’t as lethal as his fictional pathogen.

‘The Stand’ is set for a new adaptation

Appropriately enough, a new version of The Stand was already in the works long before the coronavirus pandemic. The book was previously adapted into a TV miniseries back in 1994. For years, Warner Bros. planned on developing a big-screen version of the story. First, the studio lined up Harry Potter director David Yates and then Josh Boone (The New Mutants), who also exited.

Ultimately, the movie project — which would have extended to multiple films — never came together. Considering the scope of The Stand, many fans wondered if it would ever truly happen. But with the box office success of It in 2017, a ton of King adaptations has entered development.

Now The Stand is in the works as a 10-episode miniseries for CBS All Access. Because of the source material’s sprawling ensemble cast, a number of actors — such as James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg, and Greg Kinnear — have been rumored to join the cast.

Fans don’t have an anticipated release date just yet. But with coronavirus on everyone’s minds, The Stand feels, unfortunately, more timely than anyone expected.