HBO's The Last Of Us Fans Are More Than A Little Horrified By Reports Of Real-Life Fungi Spread In U.S

Clicker screaming in HBO's The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

For the past three Sundays, millions of viewers have been tuning into HBO’s latest hit, The Last Of Us. The adaptation of the popular video game of the same name follows an apocalyptic world overrun by once-human creatures who have dwindled Earth’s population due to mass fungal infections. Right on time with the video game storyline coming to television a decade after its original release, troubling research has hit the internet. Apparently, dangerous fungal infections are on the rise and The Last of Us fans are not OK. 

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, due to our planet enduring warmer temperatures because of climate change, fungal infections have increased over the years. The research shared that in 2021, at least 7,000 people died in the United States from fungal infections, which is much worse than the hundreds getting dangerous infections from fungus in 1970. (Also worth noting there are more people on the planet now.) 

Regardless, the article also said that due to rising temperatures, fungi may be adapting to endure more heat stress and therefore thrive in the human body. As one The Last Of Us fan posted: 

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Since getting into the show, I’m sure the thought has crossed many of our minds that at least our real-world pandemic wasn’t as bad as what’s been imagined in The Last Of Us. However, the fact that some research does suggest fungal infections are becoming more common has fans immediately thinking of the video game-turned-hit series, already set to come back for a second season. Twitter user @JacksonRickun posted:

Very interesting and scary. this should be the plot of a tv show someday.

It reminds me of that time in 2020 when everyone started watching 2011’s Contagion amidst the early coronavirus outbreak, but in reverse. Now, I haven’t been following every scientific discovery to come out, but I certainly never heard of fungal infections worth being deeply scared about until tuning into The Last of Us. Now, the article is not suggesting any fungal pandemic is on the horizon; it simply shares that there’s evidence it’s on the rise due to climate change. Fan @jappleby phrased it this way: 

The Last Of Us isn’t a TV show. It’s a survival guide.

As the latest episode showed, The Last Of Us’ fictional pandemic may have occurred through the food supply, therefore wiping out so many people in a single day and changing the world as they knew it. Another Twitter user simply reacted to the article by sharing an image from the introduction of the series before it all went to hell. 

Sometimes science fiction does serve as a way to imagine scenarios that could happen in one way or another. Here’s hoping The Last Of Us doesn’t actually predict our futures, because those clickers are quite scary. In the case that it does, another fan posted this: 

They are of course referring to the heartbreakingly beautiful Bill and Frank storyline that left viewers super emotional and gave Linda Ronstadt’s music a streaming boost this week. I’ll leave you to decide whether you pick up being a survivalist from now on. You can catch up catch up and watch The Last Of Us and tune in to more episodes on Sundays with an HBO Max subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.