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VERIFY: CDC guidelines for zombie apocalypse are real, but need lots of context

The Verify team exists to give you the facts, and so does the CDC -- even for zombie apocalypses. Here's what the guidelines really say.

WASHINGTON — Surviving a global pandemic and finding vaccines are on the top of many people's minds lately.  But what does the Center for Disease Control and Prevention say about surviving a different type of emergency, say.. a zombie apocalypse? 

Turns out, they do have some guidelines... but they all need context. One viewer  asked our Verify team: 

"Can you give some clarity on all this talk about zombies and one of the covid19 shots? I’m hearing a lot of different conversations regarding this matter which is listed on the CDC Website."

So let's Verify.

QUESTION:   Did the CDC really offer guidelines for preparedness in case of a zombie apocalypse?

ANSWER: Yes, but the post doesn't say anything about a zombie apocalypse actually happening. Instead, it's a general disaster preparedness guideline, just framed around zombies because of the pop culture interest and a way to get more people educated about proper hazard responses.



Several social media posts have floated around the web lately, issuing warnings from Nostradamus, a 16th-century French physician famous for his book 'Les Prophéties." The posts warn of a "Zombie apocalypse" and that 2021 could "mark the rise of the living dead." 

On March 4, UberFacts — an Instagram account with more than two million followers — posted screengrab that show guidelines from the CDC mentioning zombies, correlating the guidelines with those 2021 Nostradamus predictions. The post, which featured zombie artwork and garnered over has since been deleted.

But does the CDC really have rules about being "zombie ready?" 

Yes, but they don't mention anything about Nostradamus or 2021 predictions. 

Instead, they offer some safety guidelines for pandemics in general and how to stay ready in hazardous situations. It's complete with a "zombie preparedness for educators" page as well as a zombie preparedness blog, although the blog hasn't been updated since 2011.

Credit: CDC

"What first began as a tongue-in-cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages has proven to be a very effective platform," the site reads. "We continue to reach and engage a wide variety of audiences on all hazards preparedness via “zombie preparedness”. 

"The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen," it continues. "The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse? Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!"

The agency says people should make sure to stock up on supplies and pack emergency kits, which they advise should have the following:

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
  • Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
  • Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery-powered radio, etc.)
  • Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
  • Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
  • Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
  • First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)

So while the site is real, there is no direct correlation between the CDC site and recent warnings of a 2021 "zombie outbreak." The CDC does provide guidance on vaccines and the latest updates on COVID, but there is no correlation between their zombie preparedness blog and any COVID information.

RELATED: VERIFY: What do the CDC's updated COVID guidelines for fully vaccinated people say?

RELATED: VERIFY: Answering your top COVID-19 and vaccine questions

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