Pandemic simulation event 201 launched 6 weeks before Corona virus outbreak

2021-03-20

October 18, 2019, in New York, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted a pandemic simulation; this exercise called event 201, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the group studied the reasonable count measures to stop the pandemic from spreading.

The discussion took nearly three hours and this exercise had covered all sectors that will be impacted by the pandemic. The goal of the event was to illustrate the consequences of a pandemic and to discuss well preparedness to stop it. A pandemic emergency board created to simulate how they are going to react when a fast-moving pandemic spreads in the world, and this board is a group of high-level leaders of global businesses, governments, policy and public health.

“I don’t expect the frequencies of these pandemics will be reduced, in fact, vulnerabilities in developed and non-developed countries had increased,” said Mike Ryan executive director of WHO's health emergency program in a short recorded video played to the pandemic emergency board.

Names of some board participants:

Tom Inglesby:  the Director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg.

Christopher Elias: the president of the Global Development Division of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Adrian Thomas serves as, Vice President Global Public Health, at Johnson & Johnson

The model discusses the outbreak of CAPS virus, in Brazil and other South American countries, Portugal, some states in the USA and China. The model predicted that it would reach nearly 10 million cases in three months because it will spread exponentially. The model tracks the number of cases infected by the pandemic, also tracks the financial market as an indicator of economic impact. The exercise is divided into five segments.

First segment: medical counter-measures discussion

The board according to this scenario must provide medical countermeasures such as vaccines and personal protective equipment, and highlight the logistics and medical supply issues during the outbreak.

Second segment: Trade and travel discussion

The exercise includes an aired program that updates the board about the outbreak, it shows the empty public places and empty stores,  businesses struggling to operate and businesses using telecommuting to keep the work running. Travel booking canceled and manufactures scaling back production.

Third segment: Finance

In this section, they talk about the millions of infected cases and deaths, especially and countries that have limited testing labs and poor medical infrastructures. The economy would suffocate and they predict that families will suffer when pandemic ends. The exercises focus wither they use funds to save lives or to save the economy, the economy impacted by the pandemic will take much time to recover than the economy impacted by a recession, in other words, the impact will be deeper.

Fourth segment: Communications Discussion and Epilogue

After three months (in January), the governments are struggling to manage the amount of the disinformation circulating on the internet and limited internet shutdowns to decrease panic. In the simulation, they ask people to seek real information and news from reliable sources such as public health services and public television. To sum up, this segment illustrates the spreading of rumors.

Fifth segment: hotwash and conclusion

In this section, the board concluded that self-isolation and disease surveillance could be hard to achieve in a fast-moving pandemic. To prevent this scenario the board provides measures to prevent this from happening in the coming years. Below some suggestions to face a pandemic:

  • Businesses leaders and their shareholders and governments should engage to increase financial resources for pandemic preparedness.
  • Businesses and governments should plan how corporate capabilities could be used for a larger scale pandemic.
  • Governments and WHO should work together to study how to distribute personal protective equipment during a pandemic.
  • Travel and transportation companies should work together to figure out how to maintain transportations and traveling during a pandemic.
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