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Pentagon Document from Jan. 2017 Warned a Novel Coronavirus Could Cause Millions to Suffer

A 107-page Pentagon document on “Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response” from January 6, 2017 — two weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration — has proven to be alarmingly prophetic. It warns that a “novel respiratory disease” (i.e., coronavirus) could spread rapidly, cause a “multinational health crisis that causes millions to suffer,” and grind society to a halt.

The document was first obtained and reported on by the Nation’s Ken Klippenstein. The Pentagon identified the “most likely and significant” enemy/threat on page 9:

[It] is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease. A disease of operational significance (natural, accidental, or deliberate) will have rapid rates of transmission that will result in debilitating illness in military forces at levels significant enough to degrade combat readiness and effectiveness across multiple GCCs. An outbreak in a single community can quickly evolve into a multinational health crisis that causes millions to suffer, as well as spark major disruption to every facet of society. Disease characteristics may include may include high transmissibility or severity and high likelihood of impact on voce health protection due to limited or no natural protection or MCM.

The document notes that such a pandemic, like the one we are currently seeing, presents “serious national security implications for the United States,” whether economic, political or social, and whether domestic or abroad.

“There will be competing interests for resources globally,” the document continues. “Competition for, and scarcity will include MCM [medical counter-measures],” like “vaccines, antimicrobials, and antibody preparations,” and non-pharmaceutical medical counter-measures like ventilators and personal protective equipment.

“This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce,” the document said.

The Pentagon also suspected that even countries as wealthy as the U.S. might struggle with having enough hospital beds and ventilators during a pandemic of this magnitude and severity.

“The degree to which countries can mitigate morbidity and mortality and affect messaging”— social distancing?—”during a pandemic and integrate recovering people back into society [will] have considerable impact on the magnitude of secondary and tertiary economic, political, security and social effects,” the Pentagon correctly predicted.

You can read it all, to your horror, below:

Pentagon Influenza Response by Ken Klippenstein on Scribd

[Image via David Dee Delgado/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.