What is Event 201? (Article + Video)



8/25/20212 min read

Here Are The Facts:

On  October 18th 2019, the World Economic Forum along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, held a tabletop pandemic exercise in New York called Event 201, in which they simulated the outbreak of a novel Coronavirus, approximately 6 to 8 weeks before the actual outbreak of covid-19 occurred. An invitation-only audience of nearly 130 people attended the exercises at the Pierre Hotel in New York, and a livestream of the event was available to everyone.

Also in attendance was a representative of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Stephan Redd, as well as the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), George Fu Gao.   Gao, a distinguished immunologist and virologist, has written many books and published hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers including on the original SARS virus. Interestingly, the CCDC oversees many laboratories throughout China including the Wuhan Center for Disease Control, which is 280 yards from the wet market that is considered the source of the covid-19 virus.

In addition to discussing the need for cooperation and collaboration between governments and the global private sector, there was also much discussion about the challenges faced with dis and misinformation, especially on the major online social media platforms. There are many mentions made that the major sources of the bogus information will actually be coming from companies, governments, and political leaders among others. Even one news reporter in their simulated news stories shown during the excercise posed the question of whether or not we can even trust government officials to actually report factually correct information during a pandemic.

An invitation-only audience of nearly 130 people attended the exercises at the Pierre Hotel in New York, and a livestream of the event was available to everyone. The following is the event scenario as described on their own website:

Event 201 simulates 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.

The scenario ends at the 18-month point, with 65 million deaths. The pandemic is beginning to slow due to the decreasing number of susceptible people. The pandemic will continue at some rate until there is an effective vaccine or until 80-90 % of the global population has been exposed. From that point on, it is likely to be an endemic childhood disease.

In October 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted a pandemic tabletop exercise called Event 201 with partners, the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recently, the Center for Health Security has received questions about whether that pandemic exercise predicted the current novel coronavirus outbreak in China. To be clear, the Center for Health Security and partners did not make a prediction during our tabletop exercise. For the scenario, we modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction. Instead, the exercise served to highlight preparedness and response challenges that would likely arise in a very severe pandemic. We are not now predicting that the nCoV-2019 outbreak will kill 65 million people. Although our tabletop exercise included a mock novel coronavirus, the inputs we used for modeling the potential impact of that fictional virus are not similar to nCoV-2019.

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