When someone on alt.folklore.urban asked if the email virus warning was "for real", Clay Shirky   ( clays@panix.com )   answered:
"It's for real. It's an opportunistic self-replicating email virus which tricks its host into replicating it, sometimes adding as many as 200,000 copies at a go. It works by finding hosts with defective parsing apparatus which prevents them from understanding that a piece of email which says there is an email virus and then asking them to remail the message to all their friends is the virus itself."
Was the hoax a sort of virus itself?   Yes, but it wasn't a computer virus. It was more like a social virus or a thought virus.   from the FAQ:   "G o o d T i m e s V i r u s H o a x"