CEO of WEF's 'epidemic preparedness' organization refuses to answer Rebel News questions

Richard Hatchett, the CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) hedged on basic questions about infringement on civil liberties during the pandemic.

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The world was upended in late 2019 when China announced growing concerns over a new respiratory illness. Now, four years later, the world is still suffering in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of its method of building connections into governments, the World Economic Forum (WEF) helped found the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in 2017.

The foundation receives money from public, private, philanthropic and civil society organizations in its efforts to tackle emerging diseases and develop vaccines.

At this year's WEF annual meeting, Rebel News reporters Ezra Levant and Avi Yemini ran into CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett on the streets of Davos, Switzerland.

Hatchett, however, was not keen to talk to independent journalists — running counter to the WEF's 2024 theme of "Rebuilding Trust".

Asking the CEPI head about the obsession with 'Disease X' at this year's WEF summit, Levant wondered if this was something pharmaceutical oligarchs want.

The public, Levant said, sees the “glee” with which the WEF's attendees talk about the “inevitability” of Disease X. “Do you dispute that?” he asked.

Hatchett broke his silence, saying he doesn't “think there's glee about the inevitability” of the next pandemic.

“There is a concern... that the world we live in increases risks for outbreaks of disease,” Hatchett said. “And there is a need to be prepared for future disease outbreaks so that they don't spread and become pandemics. So we have to have a conversation about what preparedness entails.”

Disease X, he added, is just a name given to the next hypothetical pandemic by the World Health Organization.

This prompted a question from Rebel's Yemini, who asked Hatchett why the public should trust the WHO after it got so many things wrong during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, he dodged the question by asking if Rebel News would ask the same sorts of questions about climate change (note: we do).

After Levant pressed again, Hatchett admitted that health officials “needed to learn from the experience.” Governments handled the situation “as best they could,” he said, adding that “it is absolutely incumbent on us to understand what we went through to learn the lessons, to draw conclusions about how best to prepare for the next outbreak because there will be future outbreaks.”

Both the COVID-19 pandemic and government interventions were “disruptive,” Hackett said, defending public health restrictions as “interventions” which “slowed transmission, that flattened the curve.”

The CEO said his organization's goal is to develop vaccines more rapidly in the future.

“I think the world has to be prepared to respond to future infectious diseases in a way that minimizes the huge societal impact that they [public health interventions] did have,” he told Rebel News.

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