Writer’s Lounge – Crimson Contagion, Japanese COVID-19 Culture, “Pluto”


Crimson Contagion

As we know and are frequently reminded by the more racist elements of the GOP as they try to deflect from their mishandling of this emergency – COVID 19 originated in China.  It quickly spread around the world through travelers, most of whom had no idea they were even ill.

The first case in America came in late January and on March 11 the highly infectious disease was declared a Pandemic.  We know now that many deaths and catastrophic illness could very likely have been prevented had the Trump administration heeded the warnings from their own epidemic/pandemic simulation exercise known as “Crimson Contagion.”

photo of pandemic scenario planning conference "Clade-X" in May of 2018.
Not only was the “Crimson Contagion” exercise a planning session in which, the preparedness deficits that were discovered should have been acted upon, but there was a mock pandemic exercise conducted in May of 2018, called “Clade X”, which also revealed similar vulnerabilities to a global virus outbreak.

“Crimson Contagion” was run in 12 States by the Dept of Health and Human Services, as well as several other departments including the Pentagon, in 2019. The exercise was conducted in 4 parts and ran from January to August of that year. Health organizations such as The American Red Cross, hospitals, and health insurance companies were invited to join.

A draft report of the results of this exercise, compiled by Dr. Robert Kadlec with the Health and Human Services for Preparedness and Response office, were reported to the Federal government last Oct and specified that our programs were woefully unprepared in every way should an event occur.

We are now dealing with the consequences of not just the lack of preparation the exercise revealed but the complete neglect to do anything about things such as, lack of clarity on which government employees were essential, disorganization between Federal and local government authorities and worst of all inability to supply and quickly manufacture necessary medical equipment.

Congress was not briefed on the exercise until last December and then only in part leaving members of Congress to scramble for more information.

Not only did this administration refuse to take it’s own research seriously, they discounted and discarded the results and progress made from similar research which took place under the Obama administration including what was learned through dealing with the Ebola outbreak in 2017.

This administration knew, through simulation, largely what to expect in an outbreak such as COVID-19 and yet they chose to downplay the seriousness of the disease and frequently lie about it’s progress, it’s contagiousness, and excuse it’s deadly affects as only relating to the expendable elderly and compromised.

While the President was saying “Nobody knew”, layers of bureaucracy and disorganization among multiple branches of government were smothering attempts to prepare by cutting funding shortfalls and not providing the equipment stockpiles necessary to meet the need we find ourselves in today.

Homeland Security and health officials have been aware of the risks associated with pandemics for over a decade now. The first test of our preparedness came in 2009 with H1N1. It was the major catalyst to take a more urgent approach to what such an event could do to the United States.

Ebola came next. Having more efficient efforts in place to fight the contagion, including sending troops to Africa to aid doctors on the ground, the more lethal virus was prevented from becoming widespread.  Regardless of the “success” of the world’s operations in fighting Ebola, weaknesses were revealed. We still were not ready for to tackle a major Pandemic.

A “lessons learned” report was collected on the Ebola response detailing what went wrong, what went right, and were we needed to improve. Very few of the serious faults were ever addressed.  Many of these issues are the same ones we are facing today:

  • lack of sufficient personal protective gear
  • lack of aid to those in quarantine
  • lack of organized planning for travel restrictions
  • lack of clarity on which government employees were essential and which were not and could work from home
  • disorganization between Federal and local government authorities and worst of all the our inability to supply and quickly manufacture necessary medical equipment

However, it was this report which spurred the opening of an office within the National Security Council which was to provide early notifications and response to health crises.

President Obama’s Homeland Security adviser, Lisa Monaco, made sure to give extensive information to, as well as playing out exercises with, the incoming Trump administration officials. These officials included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Rick Perry, and Tom Bossert – who would take her place.  

And while most of those who took part in becoming more informed on how such a crisis might play out,  by the time COVID-19 arrived most had also been fired from the administration or had resigned or been pushed out by Donald Trump. The result was that it left a majority of uninformed or ill-informed officials at the wheel. 

Worst of these changes was former National Security Advisor, John Bolton replacing Mr. Bossert. Bolton quickly ended the new office and concentrated instead on the threat of WMDs and doing his best to warmonger the US into war with Iran or North Korea.

While the NSC still employs a staff of scientists and doctors who research plan to respond in cases of infectious disease there is no dedicated offices for this purpose.

“It would be nice if the office was still there”

– Dr Anthony S Fauci

by Jennifer Keller-Puebla


National Compass is elated to share a guest front line report from Asia by a seasoned American professional in the field and a new, frequent field correspondent. 
Tom Logan is a career U.S. – Asia Relations Specialist, who has studied and worked extensively in Japan and has traveled globally on a wide basis for over 40 years, starting with work assisting refugees in Southeast Asia for a US Congressman.
He has been on both official and unofficial fact-gathering for the United States as well as functioning as a business executive in Japan in the fields of infrastructure development, high tech, NPO, and venture capital investment. 

Fluent in three critical Asian languages he has done work in such diverse places as Ecuador, TaiwanUnited Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

Among his personal pursuits have been numerous visits to the 38th Parallel DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) between North and South Korea.  Logan shares with us in this exclusive video a brief narrative about the social paradigm that exists in the Greater Tokyo area with respect to how citizens there approach their shopping chores.

Without giving away any spoilers, I can tell you that I found it in dramatic contrast to my own experiences here in America.

National Compass correspondent, Thomas P. Logan explains the market shopping culture and societal boundaries in the Greater Tokyo Japan community relative to the exigencies of the COVID-19 coronavirus public health threat. He also takes us on a tour through a typical neighborhood market, and shows the inventory in all departments of the store and details the shopping habits of the patrons. The narration is in English.




This video was passed on to me from a friend and when I watched it, I fell in love with the dog and the creativity of the lady, Nancie Wight,  who put a voice to “Pluto”, her Terrier, who gives us tips from the canine perspective on how to best weather the dog days of the coronavirus public health advisories and best practices for personal safety.

Hope you enjoy it half (or twice) as much as I did!


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