The COVID-19 Pandemic Timeline pre Pre-COVID-19 Pandemic

(Until December 2019) 


Washington Post  Oct. 27, 2020

But before the Trump White House struggled to respond to the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, there was a long history of U.S. presidents trying to prepare the nation for just such an event.

For years, epidemiologists warned a pandemic flu was inevitable. And to varying degrees, the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations recognized the threat even as other priorities competed for their attention. While their efforts were at times lukewarm, they left the Trump administration with plans to respond to such a crisis — plans Trump mostly ignored as he politicized the pandemic.

Preparing for Pandemics


December 2016, shortly before Barack Obama left office, his administration’s Pandemic Prediction and Forecasting Science and Technology Working Group—yes, that was a thing—released a report reflecting the progress that had been made in applying remote-sensing and AI tools since the early days of Global Argus. The report is freely available online and notes pointedly that recent technological advances “provide opportunities to mitigate large-scale outbreaks by predicting more accurately when and where outbreaks are likely to occur, and how they will progress.”


Urgency of Action

“The next pandemic pathogen could emerge any day. Perhaps it already is circulating in a non‐ human reservoir, but has not yet had the opportunity to infect humans. Changes in climate, ecosystems, or human settlements and behavior could provide that opportunity. Or perhaps it will arise from a precursor microbe, after poorly‐understood evolutionary drivers bring about the genomic changes necessary to infect and be transmitted among humans. The next outbreak to devastate agriculture or ecosystems also could emerge at any time, and spread quickly through a highly networked world. Interdisciplinary collaborations of mathematicians, computer scientists, microbiologists, epidemiologists, veterinarians, and other scientists to understand and predict these processes are not esoteric, academic pursuits. These collaborations are vital investments that could provide tangible benefits to public health, economic vitality, and security.   


The needed collaborations stretch well beyond the expertise and resources of any one part of the Federal government, or of the Federal government as a whole. The PPFST WG will continue its efforts to bring Federal agencies together, and join then with non‐Federal partners and civil society, to advance outbreak modeling S&T, and catalyze its implementation against the rising threat of emerging infectious diseases”.

Towards Epidemic Prediction: Federal  Efforts And Opportunities  In  Outbreak  Modeling Product  Of The  Pandemic Prediction and Forecasting Science and Technology Working Group Of The National  Science and Technology Council 

November 1, 2005 

The National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza presents our approach to address the threat of pandemic influenza, whether it results from the strain currently in birds in Asia or another influenza virus. It outlines how we intend to prepare, detect, and respond to a pandemic. It also outlines the important roles to be played not only by the Federal government, but also by State and local governments, private industry, our international partners, and most importantly individual citizens, including you and your families. While your government will do much to prepare for a pandemic, individual action and individual responsibility are necessary for the success of any measures. Not only should you take action to protect yourself and your families, you should also take action to prevent the spread of influenza if you or anyone in your family becomes ill. Together we will confront this emerging threat and together, as Americans, we will be prepared to protect our families, our communities, this great Nation, and our world. 


George W. Bush The White House  

September 2013 Peter Doherty: Disease in a Borderless World (World Affairs Council) 

Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty emphasizes that pandemics can be fought effectively, both through simple health practices and new research. Drawing on his extensive experience in the fields of pathology and immunology, Dr. Doherty will discuss pandemics, how they spread and what we can do to prevent them.

Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 30 million viewers of his TED Talk. Bill Gates warned in 2015 that a pandemic was a greater risk to humankind than nuclear war. Five years before that, he challenged the world health community to commit to a decade of vaccines, and anted up $10 billion to get it started.

In October 2018, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe.


Donnie Brasco’s Statement about nCoV and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security pandemic exercise In October 2019.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted a pandemic tabletop exercise called Event 201 with partners, the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recently, the Center for Health Security has received questions about whether that pandemic exercise predicted the current novel coronavirus outbreak in China. To be clear, the Center for Health Security and partners did not make a prediction during our tabletop exercise. For the scenario, we modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction. Instead, the exercise served to highlight preparedness and response challenges that would likely arise in a very severe pandemic.

September 2019 Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Preparedness for a High-Impact Respiratory Pathogen Pandemic

Selected moments from the Event 201 pandemic tabletop exercise hosted by The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. The exercise illustrated the pandemic preparedness efforts needed to diminish the large-scale economic and societal consequences of a severe pandemic. Drawing from actual events, Event 201 identifies important policy issues and preparedness challenges that could be solved with sufficient political will and attention. These issues were designed in a narrative to engage and educate the participants and the audience. For more information, visit: http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.or...

September 2019 A World at Risk  Annual report on global preparedness for health emergencies Global Preparedness Monitoring Board

The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) is an independent monitoring and accountability body to ensure preparedness for global health crises. Comprised of political leaders, agency principals and world-class experts, the Board provides an independent and comprehensive appraisal for policy makers and the world about progress towards increased preparedness and response capacity for disease outbreaks and other emergencies with health consequences. In short, the work of the GPMB will be to chart a roadmap for a safer world.

Created in response to recommendations by the UN Secretary General’s Global Health Crises Task Force in 2017, the GPMB was co-convened by the World Health Organization and the World Bank Group and formally launched in May 2018. The GPMB is led by its co-chairs, Elhadj As Sy, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation Board, former Secretary General of the IFRC, and Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former WHO Director-General.

Experts detail global pandemic readiness gaps, offer steps CIDRAP - Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy 


Ending the Cycle of Crisis and Complacency in U.S. Global Health Security


NOV 18, 2019

Take as Directed / Coronavirus Crisis Update

Website (PdF) 

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