In a document obtained by Newsweek, Department of Defense officials said that Covid-19 will “likely” become a global pandemic within the next 30 days.
This comes after a 23-year-old soldier stationed in South Korea became the first member of the US armed forces to contract the illness.
“The DoD is concerned not only the impact COVID-19 has on mission readiness, but the risk to inadvertently spread the virus to the U.S. by returning members who may have been exposed,” a senior Pentagon official told Newsweek…
…When asked for comment, Jessica R. Maxwell, a DOD spokesperson, said the DoD has “contingency plans in place and are taking steps to educate and safeguard our military and civilian personnel, family members and base communities in preventing widespread outbreak.” But ultimately, “Commanders of individually affected geographic commands will be and are issuing specific guidance to their forces as their situations may require.”
…The use of the term “pandemic” in the briefing documents described a global outbreak, whereas an “epidemic” would be confined to a country,” a senior Pentagon official told Newsweek. During a pandemic, a large number of people in several countries or continents are affected, according to the CDC. (source)
Arguably, it’s already a pandemic since it has reached every continent except Antarctica. Many people in the United States are paying attention and ratcheting up their preparedness for possible quarantines and other measures.
The National Center for Medical Intelligence (the NCMI) raised the Risk of Pandemic warning from WATCHCON 2 to WATCHCON 1, according to the document obtained by Newsweek. WATCHCON 2 is used in the event of a “probable crisis” and WATCHCON 1 means the crisis is imminent.
This goes hand-in-hand with reports that the military began executing plans to prepare for a potential pandemic two weeks ago. As well, this could be the reason behind President Trump’s deal with the Taliban – it could be an effort to get soldiers out of an area where transmission could be widespread.
The CDC also feels that the risk of a pandemic is high.
The Centers for Disease Control also notes that the likelihood of a global pandemic is high.
At this time, however, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States. However, it is important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.
Current risk assessment:
For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated though still relatively low risk of exposure.
Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
The CDC has been harshly criticized regarding its response to the virus. Tests that they sent out to health departments were faulty, losing weeks of possible containment in the United States. (More on the lack of containment in this article.)
The WHO refuses to call it a pandemic.
Perhaps in an effort to ratchet down the level of fear and panic across the globe, the World Health Organization has not deemed Covid-19 a pandemic.
“Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in Geneva.
He explained that the decision to use the word ‘pandemic’ is based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of disease it causes, and the impact on society.
“For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death,” he said, adding that what is occurring is coronavirus epidemics in different parts of the world, which are affecting countries differently. (source)
One must wonder, why is there so much ado about a word? Why is the World Health Organization so reluctant to call this what it is, a pandemic outbreak when it is one, even by their own definition? (That definition, found here, is “A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.”)
The preparedness and alternative media worlds are not alone in asking this question.
Lauren Sauer, director of operations for the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness, told a reporter for the Washington Post, “Personally, I think we’re doing everyone a disservice by continuing this debate…It is creating more panic than just declaring it and moving on.”
The World Bank has an insurance policy against pandemics.
In a possibly unrelated aside, the World Bank has an insurance policy against pandemics but unless certain conditions occur, it won’t pay out, which greatly benefits investors. I use the word “unrelated” because apparently the bonds aren’t dependent on the WHO’s classification of an outbreak.
According to the World Bank, which created the fund three years ago, it was designed to “swiftly funnel funds from the deep-pocketed financial sector to health authorities in poorer countries before international assistance could be mobilized.”
They sold $320 million of these securities, which will mature in July of this year. If it matures, investors could receive double-digit yields. If a pandemic does occur, however, they could lose every penny they put into the fund.
The Class B bond covers conditions that are non-influenza related, like Ebola. But interestingly, the bond never paid out despite the ongoing crisis in the Congo based on the conditions laid out by the bond.
What are those conditions?
The primary one is that there must be more than 250 deaths attributed to the pandemic illness. But for the bond to be payable, there must be more than 20 deaths in a second country, which hasn’t yet occurred with either the coronavirus or Ebola. You can read more about the pandemic bond in these documents.
Whatever you want to call it, Covid-19 is widespread.
People in the United States are definitely concerned if the weekend’s shopping frenzy means anything. To learn more about preparing specifically for this outbreak, go here. To learn more about getting prepped for a quarantine, go here.
Yesterday’s WHO Sitrep report divulged the following information.
Armenia, Czechia, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Iceland, and Indonesia all now have confirmed cases of Covid-19.
A WHO team has arrived in Tehran to help with the Iranian response to their outbreak.
Covid-19 has been confirmed in 65 countries across the globe.
You can find the full report here.
It never hurts to get prepared with some extra food, toilet paper, and other supplies. If the Department of Defense is warning that we’re facing a pandemic within 30 days, we can safely say the pandemic has already arrived.