On February 10, 2021, Facebook page “ბიბლიის მორწმუნე ქრისტიანები” (The Bible Believing Christians) published a post, according to which the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security that is allegedly financed by Bill Gates has developed a new pandemic scenario.” The page claims that the Center’s SPARS Pandemic plan will be implemented in 2025-2028 after the absolute majority of the world population is persuaded to receive the coronavirus vaccine. According to the post, the Johns Hopkins Center had held training and preparations for the coronavirus pandemic and after several months, the coronavirus pandemic was staged under the same scenario. The author adds the links to the official website of the Johns Hopkins Center providing information about Event 201 and SPARS Pandemic.
As of February 15, 2021, the post published by the Bible Believing Christians has 155 shares.
The post published by the Bible Believing Christians, according to which the coronavirus pandemic was staged under Event 201 scenario and the world is now anticipating a new SPARS Pandemic, contains false claims. Both projects were about the hypothetical future and did not represent the plan for any specific pandemic. Moreover, this is a well-established practice in science, because creation of experience-based hypothetical models helps experts get ready for the real pandemic and analyze the risks that may emerge in possible crisis situations.
- The scenario of both SPARS Pandemic and Event 201 is about the hypothetical future and it does not represent a plan for any specific pandemic
The book SPARS Pandemic, a futuristic scenario for public health communicators, was released as part of the Johns Hopkins Center project under co-authorship of seven professors in 2017. According to the information published on the Center’s website, the SPARS Pandemic scenario illustrates communication dilemmas concerning medical countermeasures (MCMs) that could plausibly emerge in the not-so-distant future. The working group studied expert recommendations and information about previous medical crises, as well as peculiarities of modern information technology and healthcare systems and created the scenario based on this information.
The book contains a disclaimer on page 7, according to which it is a hypothetical scenario.
The preface of the book, which describes the project methodology and purposes, notes that this prospective scenario is not intended to predict events to come; rather, it is meant to serve as a plausible narrative that illustrates a broad range of serious and frequently encountered challenges in the realm of risk and crisis communication.
It is noteworthy that the scenario says nothing either about another pandemic that occurred prior to the SPARS pandemic or universal, compulsory vaccination that would have indicated that the developments described in the scenario took place in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world. Thus, the claim as if the SPARS Pandemic scenario was written in advance and it covers the post-COVID-19 period is absolutely groundless.
The post published by the Bible Believing Christians also refers to Event 201 held by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security on October 18, 2019, which, according to the author, exactly predicted the coronavirus pandemic scenario. An identical conspiracy theory about Event 201 was previously spread by other Facebook users, including fake account Lasha Modebadze. In fact, Event 201, like the SPARS Pandemic, consisted of simulation exercises and was built on the data invented by scientists. Detailed information about the conspiracy theory covering Event 201 is provided in Myth Detector’s earlier article:
Troll disseminates conspiracy about Rockefeller Foundation’s 2010 document and Lugar Lab
- Why are hypothetical pandemic simulations and scenarios created?
There is nothing unusual for epidemiologists and virologists in the SPARS Pandemic scenario and Event 201. Pandemics are part of the history of humankind and we are not insured against them in the future either as it was proved by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Researchers are building new prediction models and running simulations to study how to deal with the current outbreak. Simulations and hypothetical pandemic scenarios are frequently designed not only for healthcare specialists, but for medical school students as part of experimental learning. Sometimes, they are used to assess the preparedness of the healthcare system for any large-scale crisis or to analyze the scales of any disease outbreak. It does not mean that such simulations represent “a plan” for a specific pandemic, which will be purposefully implemented by certain groups in the future.
It is worth noting that mathematical models and simulations are actively used under COVID-19 pandemic as they can provide key insights for future pandemic response plans. They help health experts and policy makers to plan relevant measures in advance.
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