Did they know what was coming?

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Before this year’s very real coronavirus pandemic that started in China and is now sweeping the globe, a “fictional” simulation of such an event was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last year.

Event 201, which was hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, took place in October 2018 and featured a simulation in which a novel zoonotic coronavirus spread throughout the world and caused 65 million deaths worldwide. In the preparedness scenario, the coronavirus started in Brazil rather than China.

“Once you’re in the midst of a severe pandemic, your options are very limited,” said Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University. “The greatest good can happen with pre-planning.”

The event was hosted in New York City and attended by some of the most influential business leaders, government officials, and health officials. Attendees claimed that it really helped them rethink how they would handle disaster preparedness if such a situation were to arise.

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