Crimson Contagion

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Event.png Crimson Contagion (“Pandemic/Preparation”,  mid-level deep event,  planning exercise) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Crimson Contagion.jpg
A shot from a Crimson Contagion wrap up video.[1]
Crimson Contagion logo.png
DateJanuary 2019 - August 2019
LocationNew York,  USA
PerpetratorsUS Health and Human Services Department, Robert Kadlec
SponsorsBig pharma lobby
DescriptionAn U.S. nationwide exercise in how to handle an influenza pandemic. Held January to August 2019

Crimson Contagion was a large US exercise held in 2019 that simulated a global influenza pandemic.[2]The National Security Council was involved in the simulation.[3] It "predicted, with remarkable accuracy, many of the problems and shortfalls currently plaguing the US' response to the novel coronavirus outbreak".[4] It trained participants to expect a state of emergency in response to a pandemic flu. Lessons learned were used to inform an anthrax exercise in October[Which?][citation needed] as well as a whole series of similar drills.


The exercise involved a scenario in which tourists returning from China spread a respiratory virus in the US, beginning in Chicago. The scenario depicted 110 million infections, 7.7 million hospitalizations & 586,000 deaths in the US.

The report issued at the conclusion of the exercise outlines the government's limited capacity to respond to a pandemic, with federal agencies lacking the funds, coordination, and resources to facilitate an effective response to the virus. Crimson Contagion begins at a point 47 days after the first case is discovered in the United States.

Lessons learned?

"The White House defended its record, saying it responded to the 2019 exercise with an executive order to improve the availability and quality of flu vaccines, and that it moved early this year to increase funding for the Health and Human Service Department’s program that focuses on global pandemic threats.

But officials have declined to say why the administration was so slow to roll out broad testing, or move faster, as the simulations all indicated it should, to urge social distancing and school closings.

Asked at his news briefing Thursday about the government’s preparedness, Trump responded, “Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before.”"[5]


Related Quotation

COVID-19/Timeline“the next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus . . . or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu. [...] Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year. And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.”Bill Gates17 February 2017


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:All Roads Lead to Dark Winterreport1 April 2020Whitney Webb
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