President Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force has repeatedly said nobody could have ever thought something like this could happen.
Experts from the U.S. participated in the Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation and Global Business Network ten years ago. That exercise was scenario planning demonstrating possible events that might happen and how we might respond to those crisis. The so-called “Lock Step” scenario was one of the four scenarios they explored and was incredibly close to the Covid-19 pandemic now.
“In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain — originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers.” [Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development]
President Trump’s goto guy for infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), predicted this pandemic in 2017.
Delivering a keynote speech at the Georgetown University Medical Center event, Dr. Fauci said: “If there’s one message that I want to leave with you today… is that there is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases. Both chronic infectious diseases in the sense of already ongoing disease, and we have certainly a large burden of that, but also there will be a surprise outbreak.”
Again in 2019 the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, hosted Event 201, a multimedia global pandemic exercise in New York City. This pandemic exercise underscored the immediate need for global public-private cooperation to mitigate severe economic and societal impact of pandemics.
Event 201 Pandemic Exercise: Highlights Reel
Whether Mr. Trump was read in to this information or not, the U.S. Government was aware of it and should have done better preparation than it did. As Mr. Trump correctly admitted, he inherited a badly outdated public health organization not adequately prepared for a public health emergency on this scale.