March 20, 2020

Trump Administration Ran An Eight-Month Simulation Of A Pandemic in 2019; Final Report Written Roughly 2 Months Before Covid-19 Appeared

Beginning in January 2019 and continuing for eight months, the Trump administration conducted a scientific public health research study (code-named "Crimson Contagion") testing the United States' response to a potential global pandemic. The simulation was conducted in Washington, DC, and 12 states.

The final report (written in October 2019) concluded that the country was woefully underprepared, not properly financed, and poorly coordinated. The simulation created such chaos and confusion that the Trump administration ordered the report "not to be disclosed".

Roughly two months later, in January 2020, the Trump administration was briefed on what became the Covid-19 pandemic.

The New York Times reports:
What the scenario makes clear, however, is that [Trump's] own administration had already modeled a similar pandemic and understood its potential trajectory. ... [It] demonstrates that the government had considerable knowledge about the risks of a pandemic and accurately predicted the very types of problems Mr. Trump is now scrambling belatedly to address. The October 2019 report in particular documents that officials at the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, and even at the White House's National Security Council, were aware of the potential for a respiratory virus outbreak originating in China to spread quickly to the United States and overwhelm the nation.
Congress was briefed in December 2019 on some of the report's findings, including the inability to quickly replenish certain medical supplies.

While the administration tried to keep this report a secret from the public, Trump was lying at a furious rate over the last two weeks:
March 6, 2020: "But it's an unforeseen problem. What a problem. Came out of nowhere, but we're taking care of it."

March 11, 2020: "We're having to fix a problem that, four weeks ago, nobody ever thought would be a problem."

March 14, 2020: "It's something that nobody expected. ... It's one of those things that happened."

March 16, 2020: "We have a problem a month ago nobody ever thought about."

March 17, 2020: "I've always known this is a real — this is a pandemic. I've felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. ... I've always viewed it as very serious. There was no difference yesterday from days before."

March 18, 2020: "Nobody ever thought of numbers like this."

March 19, 2020: "I would view it as something that just surprised the whole world. Nobody knew there'd be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before."
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