Sunday, May 13, 2018

Clade X: Simulated Pandemic Table Top Exercise This Week

Credit NIAID











#13,314


On the heels of last week's Emory University Webinar: 100 years of Influenza Pandemics and Practice: 1918-2018, on Tuesday of this week (May 15th, 2018) Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security will host a day-long (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST) table top pandemic exercise which will be live streamed on Facebook and on the Clade X website.

 The website description reads:
Clade X Exercise

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security is hosting the Clade X pandemic tabletop exercise on May 15, 2018, in Washington, DC. The purpose of the exercise is to illustrate high-level strategic decisions and policies that the United States and the world will need to pursue in order to prevent a pandemic or diminish its consequences should prevention fail.

While a press release announces the participants:

Players for Clade X pandemic tabletop exercise include current and former elected officials, former senior government leaders

By Nick Alexopulos | April 16, 2018
Former high-ranking US government officials and a current US congresswoman will play a team of presidential advisors tasked with leading the policy response to a fictional outbreak scenario in the upcoming Clade X pandemic tabletop exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

As the scenario unfolds during the day-long exercise on May 15, 2018, the players will engage in a series of simulated National Security Council–convened meetings informed by briefings and injects from Center staff. They will be presented with unresolved real-world policy issues that could be solved with sufficient political will and attention now and in the future. The players’ discussions and the Center’s own recommendations will illustrate high-level strategic decisions and policies that the United States and the world will need to pursue in order to prevent a pandemic or diminish its consequences should prevention fail.

The players and their respective roles are:




Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the Center, will play the White House national security advisor.

Limited audience seating at Clade X is by invitation only. However, a livestream of the event will be available on the Center's page on Facebook. Members of the media interested in attending Clade X should contact Nick Alexopulos; a media advisory will be released closer to the exercise date.

Having been lucky enough to be a panelist twice on similar exercises held by the HHS/CDC in 2008 for H5N1 and 2009 for the H1N1 pandemic (see HHS Pandemic Exercise & To D.C. & Back) I can tell you these are not boring, heavily scripted talkfests.

The moderator will have a basic story line (often with branches that anticipate certain decisions, and trajectories) -  but the panelists generally go in `cold', and are put under pressure to make life or death decisions as new SitReps arrive, and the scenario (invariably) worsens.
Panelists are put on the spot - often with inadequate or incomplete information - and must justify their decisions to the group. If you've ever seen the movie `12 Angry Men', you may have some idea of what to expect.
These exercises, while based on fictional scenarios, provide an excellent thought experiment for decision makers, and just as importantly, can provide the public with some understanding of the difficult (sometimes impossible) choices that officials may face during a real pandemic.





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