Just three months before the current Chinese virus outbreak, top US health experts hosted a tabletop exercise that simulated a fictional coronavirus pandemic – to see how authorities could coordinate a response to such an event.
Leading scientists at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security conducted the simulation to highlight how governments and industry would respond in the case of a very severe pandemic.
As part of a study last October, researchers modeled a hypothetical pandemic on a computer.
So far the highly contagious and deadly disease currently spreading through China has killed 41 people, with more than 1,200 confirmed cases of infection.
Experts predict the actual number of those who have contracted the virus is more likely to run into the thousands, however.
The Center for Health Security and its partners – the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – have made it clear that the inputs for modeling the potential impact of the fictional virus were not similar to the current coronavirus known as COVID-19.
UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that experts ran a “simulation” that “predicted” the current coronavirus outbreak, but this was inaccurate. The exercise was unrelated to the current coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. For more information on this, please refer to Lead Stories’ analysis. We have updated our article and title to reflect the new information.