Exercise Cygnus

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Event.png Exercise Cygnus (exercise,  Pandemic/Preparation,  planning exercise) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Date18 October 2016 - 20 October 2016
ParticipantsNHS, Imperial College London, Public Health England
DescriptionSimulation exercise to estimate the impact of a hypothetical H2N2 influenza pandemic in the UK. One of the purposes of the scenario prepared by experts from Imperial College London was to overcome Whitehall skepticism of their earlier absolutely wrong epidemic forecasting, and to drill politicians to make certain prepared responses in case of an emergency. Held October 2016.

Exercise Cygnus was a simulation exercise carried out by Public Health England in October 2016 to prepare the impact of a hypothetical influenza pandemic in the United Kingdom that was "close to the worst case planning scenarios".[1][2]

The purpose seems to have been to groom politicians to accept certain responses prepared by the Gates-sponsored biosecurity community: "ministers from across government were seated, ashen faced, in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR). On a large flat screen, epidemiologists from Imperial College London were showing a slide which detailed the scale of the epidemic that was enveloping Britain."[3]

An extremely gloomy picture was painted, where "50% of the population may be affected" in what was declared as "one of the most severe natural phenomena to affect the UK and the most several civil emergency risk".[1]

Among the solutions drilled into government was a renewed belief in epidemic forecasting, which there had "There was also cynicism across Whitehall about the epidemiological modeling" after total disaster predicted by "health experts" before the 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic and 2013–2016 west African Ebola outbreak totally failed to materialize.[3]

Other solutions was a taste of the massive propaganda push during the COVID-19 situation in March 2020, the "development of a robust communications strategy to assist the response” and hinting at the large scale euthanasia program implemented, "managing surges in health and social care activity", and later "mass vaccination programmes.”[3]

"Military actions" included (but not limited to) the need for "command-and-control components to co-ordinate the healthcare system if the NHS senior management were unable to work.”[3]

957 people took part in the exercise, representing national, regional and local multi-agency responders.

In late April 2020, The Observer reported that the government has been threatened with legal action over demands to publish the results of the study.[4] A redacted version of the report is available online.[1]

Withholding of healthcare and excess deaths

Example of triage from the report based on Cygnus. The choice to let people die (and even euthanasia) is hinted at in the description of "A 72 year old woman with fractured femur" who would be given "resources required in community to support dignity in end of life pathway".[5]

Based upon the Cygnus conclusions[6], in September 2017, the NHS Surge and Triage briefing paper[7] was made available to senior health and government officials. It discussed something called population triage:

The purpose of this paper is to provide an update to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) on continuing refinement of the knowledge and understanding behind the potential decision that may be required in a future extreme pandemic influenza scenario to move to a state of population triage across the country…”

Population triage means the potential denial of healthcare:

The majority of the detail in this paper will not be replicated in any publically available documentation…Difficult decisions will be needed about maintaining patient access to care…There is significant discussion in the paper about ceasing or changing care to patients in the HRG (Healthcare Resource Croups)…Patients would be assessed on probability of survival rather than clinical need and higher level services would no longer be provided…Total excess death rate would be in excess of 7,806 per week of the peak of the pandemic if all these services were stopped…So in the peak six weeks of a pandemic…46,836 excess deaths could be expected

Between 7th March and 8th May 2020, there were 47,243 excess deaths in England and Wales[8]. According to the Cygnus predictions, this was slightly higher than the numbers envisaged to result directly from the withdrawal of healthcare. However, nearly all of these deaths were attributed to COVID 19.[6]



Imperial College LondonPlays a central part in the COVID-19 deep event.
NHSThe National Health service is the public health system of the United Kingdom
Public Health England