A Global Surprise Pandemic
The Corona virus pandemic took the world by surprise, including political leaders and decision makers, who were quickly startled by the imposing virulence of the new disease. The sentiment of surprise was especially prevalent in the masses of citizens, that suddenly confronted the growing media campaign and it´s social consequences. As a result, the initial sense of optimism that was frequent while the story unfolded in China, rapidly escalated into generalized confusion and unpreparedness, as the effects of the pandemic were felt throughout the globe. American President Donald Trump confessed, on several occasions, the unpredictability of the event:
…That Nobody Expected?
2000 – 2nd National Symposium on Medical and Public Health Response to Bioterrorism.
2001 – Dark Winter Exercise. Portrayed a fictional scenario depicting a covert smallpox attack on US citizens.
2005 – Atlantic Storm. How would world leaders manage the catastrophe of a fast-moving global epidemic of deadly disease?
2005 – International Conference on Biosafety and Biorisks. The challenges presented by SARS, influenza, and other major epidemic threats, as well as the efforts needed to improve international cooperation prior to and during future epidemics.
2005 – Bulls, Bears, and Birds: Preparing the Financial Industry for a Pandemic. The world is overdue for a major pandemic, and even if it does not happen this year, it will surely happen in the years ahead – how can the industry cope with a pandemic?
2006 – Disease, Disaster, and Democracy: The Public’s Stake in Health Emergency Planning. Disaster plans hold both practical and moral value. This fact is most apparent in the case of large-scale disease outbreaks such as SARS or pandemic flu because of their broad-reaching medical, social, political, and economic effects.
2009 – Prevention of Biothreats: A Look Ahead. Preventing the development and use of biological weapons.
2009 – Resilient American Communities: Progress in Practice and Policy. To apply state-of-the-art knowledge of resilience to the design of federal policies that will strengthen local communities and their environments to withstand disasters, epidemics, and terrorism.
2010 – Improving Global Health, Strengthening Global Security. Cooperation in support of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the International Health Regulations (IHR); disease surveillance for outbreaks of international importance and urgency; exchange of technical information and new pathogens for vaccine, medicine, and diagnostic development; and prevention, early warning, and control of serious animal disease outbreaks.
2010 – The 2009 H1N1 Experience: Policy Implications for Future Infectious Disease Emergencies. The role of disease containment measures in the response to a SARS-like emerging infectious disease should be reconsidered.
2010 – The State of Biopreparedness: Lessons for Leaders, Proposals for Progress. Experiences with SARS, West Nile virus, H5N1 influenza and the H1N1 pandemic tested U.S. response plans and systems and provided important lessons that have helped strengthen systems and capabilities.
2011 – Charting the Future of Biosecurity: Ten Years after the Anthrax Attacks. The importance of preparing for the future of biosecurity given the looming threats of bioterrorism, pandemic flu, and other emerging infectious diseases.
2012 – RAND – National Security Research Division – Only pandemics hold the risk of destroying American society within a foreseeable future.
2012 – Improving Epidemic Response: Building Bridges Between the US and China. Understanding of U.S. and Chinese strategies for responding to major disease epidemics. It was also a venue for both countries to present their approaches to disease outbreak response and to consider effective practices and the potential for future collaborations in epidemic preparedness and response.
2013 – Insights from the Frontlines of the MERS Outbreak. Concerned about the similarities between MERS and the SARS coronavirus outbreak of 2003, top health officials across the world have organized a conference to debate insights.
2014 – Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative: 2014 Workshop. The Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative held its fall workshop at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.
2015 – Multilateral Strategic Dialogue on Biosecurity Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, United States. Discussions on pandemic preparedness, the threat of bioterrorism, regional coordination for addressing cross-border threats, and intersectoral collaboration during biosecurity emergencies.
2015 – Bill Gates meets with the current Chinese president to discuss the importance of international cooperation to prevent and control pandemics.
2015 – “Building Resilient Communities: Ebola and Global Health Crises ” Promote coordination among U.S. government, international institutions and agencies, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector to maximize the ongoing Ebola epidemic response, management and recovery.
2016 – GHSA Assessment of Taiwan. Accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.
2016 – India-US Biosecurity Dialogue. Risk assessment, and cross-sector collaboration for mitigating biological threats.
2016 – South Africa Delegation Meeting. Challenges in biosafety; strategies for measuring preparedness; and the Global Health Security Agenda.
2017 – The SPARS pandemic. Simulation of the communication chalanges involved with a futuristic novel Corona virus epidemic, particularly, relating to drug and vaccine development and pushback.
2017 – Outbreak Observatory. Observe outbreak and epidemic responses on the ground in affected areas,
2017 – Multilateral Strategic Dialogue on Biosecurity. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, United States. With Participating Observers from Thailand and Philippines. The health and security impact of naturally occurring, accidental, and deliberate infectious disease events.
2017 – Meeting to Solicit Stakeholder Input on Forthcoming National Biodefense Strategy. Discussion about US biodefense capabilities.
2017 – Bill Gates continues his worldwide saga on pandemic awareness.
2017 – India-US Biosecurity Dialogue II. Cross-sector collaboration for mitigating biological threats.
2018 – Clade X. To illustrate high-level strategic decisions and policies that the United States and the world will need to pursue in order to prevent a pandemic or diminish its consequences should prevention fail.
2018 – Multilateral Biosecurity Dialogue with Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the United States. Dialogue countries will consider Southeast Asia’s increasingly complex biosecurity risk landscape—natural outbreaks of emerging and potential pandemic pathogens —as they explore how they can work together to strengthen preparedness.
2018 – A Framework for Healthcare Disaster Resilience in a Changing Healthcare Landscape. Limited scale bioterrorism, limited outbreaks of lethal and contagious infectious diseases, such as Ebola or SARS.
2018 – The Value of Multilateral Engagement and a Global Health Security Index in Reducing the Threat Posed by Emerging Infectious Diseases. The GHS Index will seek to motivate regular commitments, financing and accountability, influence government decision-making on a regular basis, and – ultimately – help to improve pandemic preparedness. Our project team has developed a framework of national indicators for health security to assess countries’ technical, financial, and political capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemics with international implications.
2018 – This is Not a Drill: A Hypothetical Pandemic. The Wheeler Center ran a simulation pertaining to a major pandemic arising from a new strain of influenza out of China.
2018 – PASCC US – India Biosecurity Dialogue. Developing shared bilateral understandings of and approaches to tackling difficult problems in biosecurity promises to strengthen trust and cooperation between the United States and India.
2018 – First Annual: Global Forum on Scientific Advances Important to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. How new biotechnology tools and approaches might pose new risks and explore new solutions for existing and emerging biological weapons challenges.
2018 – A Framework to Analyze the Pandemic Potential of Pathogens. Improving Pandemic Preparedness by Identifying the Attributes of Microorganisms Most Likely to Cause a Global Catastrophic Biological Event.
2018 – Meeting to Solicit Stakeholder Input on Forthcoming 2017 National Biodefense Strategy. The aims of the meeting were to consider the United States’ biological threat landscape; discuss existing programs, policies, and mechanisms for mitigating the broad spectrum of naturally occurring, accidental, and deliberate biological threats facing the nation.
2019 – PASCC US – India Biosecurity Dialogue. Increase knowledge of prevention and response efforts for natural, deliberate, and accidental biological threats in India and the United States.
2019 – Event 201. An outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic. The pathogen and the disease it causes are modeled largely on SARS, but it is more transmissible in the community setting by people with mild symptoms.
2019 – Developing a Health Systems Resilience Checklist and Implementation Guide. Faced with a major disaster or infectious disease outbreak, the people and organizations that promote, restore, and maintain a community’s health should be able to successfully treat the sick and protect the well.
2019 – Multilateral Biosecurity Dialogue with Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the United States. Promote engagement that helps improve national and regional response to natural, accidental, and deliberate biological events.
2019 – Crimson Contagion Function Exercise. Testing preparedness for an influenza pandemic.
2019 – Vaccine Platforms. State of the Field and Looming Challenges. the promise of vaccine technologies with a view to pandemic preparedness.
There Was Ample Anticipation of a Pandemic.
The previous examples display surprising evidence that, for at least 20 years, there has been a plethora of studies, conventions and simulations pertaining to the subject of a pandemics. Bizarrely, some of which are dedicated to information control or centered around mock media exercises, and feature plots that hold an incredible resemblance to the events that society is currently facing under COVID-19. So, who propelled and funded the majority of these projects?
In essence, the most powerful and affluent governmental, philanthropic and academic institutions on the planet, have been markedly invested in the topic of pandemics – which means, the right people, with the right resources, at the right time – an idyllic scenario for pandemic preparedness and awareness. Now, ask yourself the following:
WHY WERE EVEN THE WEALTHIEST NATIONS LACKING BASIC AND INEXPENSIVE PROTECTIVE MATERIAL, SUCH AS MASKS, GLOVES, SUITS AND DISINFECTANTS, IN MEDICAL SETTINGS ?!
Predicting a Surprise?
Anthony S. Fauci is an expert in infectious diseases and holds a long history of government interconnectedness. Currently, he is the leading authoritative voice on the coronavirus pandemic for the Trump administration, and is a regular in presidential briefings. Just a few days before Trump claimed the presidency, there was an academic event which focused precisely on the agenda for pandemic preparedness for the next administration. These were his words:
“Given that I have had the opportunity of serving five administrations, I thought I would bring that perspective to the topic today; the issue of pandemic preparedness. And if there is one message that I want to leave with you today based on my experience is that there is no question that there will be a challenge in the coming administration in the area of infectious diseases, both chronic infectious diseases, in the sense of already ongoing disease, but also there will be a surprise outbreak. I hope you will understand by the end of my short presentation why history, and the history of the last 32 years I have been the director of the NIAID, will tell the next administration that there is no doubt in anyone´s mind that they will be faced with the challenges that their predecessors were faced with.”
To date, there is not a single pandemic that has been predicted before it infected human beings. (1) The general plausibility of a pandemic cannot be extrapolated into the certain knowledge of it’s occurrence within a time frame and with a specific impact. Pandemic prediction depends upon the surveillance of specific types of pathogens and infection rates, which are not concluded a priori. (2,3) How is it then, that a man of science such as Anthony S. Fauci, could incur in such deterministic language?