Another ‘dress rehearsal’ for a pandemic

Geoff Ward
3 min readDec 14, 2022

A training exercise under the banner ‘Catastrophic Contagion’, and envisaging a pandemic in 2025, has taken place involving the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with the World Health Organisation.

The ‘tabletop exercise’ was held during the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on October 23, 2022.

Already, as cultural historian and philosopher Nicholas Hagger reveals in his new book, The Fall of the West (O-Books, November 2022, read my review here), there were two ‘dress rehearsals’ for a pandemic before covid-19 arrived: ‘Lock Step’ in 2010 and ‘Event 201’ in 2019.

Another pandemic and its attendant restrictions, possibly in 2025, could be the next stage in the ‘levelling down’ of the West on the way to an authoritarian world government, Hagger warns. He says the most urgent immediate policy of the West’s governments and intelligence services is to make sure the West does not fall to a new virus by 2025.

The ‘evidence jigsaw’ he puts together in The Fall of the West discloses, among other important findings, a possible deliberate release of engineered SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan in October 2019 ‘in an attempt to prevent the world’s population from rising above eight billion in 2023 and to maintain it at eight billion thereafter (while setting back China’s rise to number-one superpowerdom)’.

Respiratory illness

‘Catastrophic Contagion’ has the look of a sequel to ‘Event 201’ which, with its scenario of a worldwide respiratory illness, appeared to forecast in detail what actually happened from March 2020 with covid-19.

Under ‘Catastrophic Contagion’, the mock-alert was to an apparently fictional virus called Severe Epidemic Enterovirus Respiratory Syndrome 2025, or SERS 2025, said to affect young people and children rather than the elderly and infirm as with covid-19.

‘Event 201’, which was hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the CIA, was an exercise in preparing for a coming severe pandemic, requiring cooperation between governments, industries and international institutions.



Geoff Ward

Writer, journalist, book editor, poet, musician and tutor in literature and creative writing (MA and BA Hons degrees in English literature).