The WEF is not planning to impose restrictions in the name of 'Disease X'

By: John Faerseth
January 18 2024

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The WEF is not planning to impose restrictions in the name of 'Disease X'

Source: Screenshot modified by Logically Facts


The Verdict False

The term "Disease X” refers to a hypothetical, as yet non-existent epidemic disease. The panel is about preparing for such an eventuality.

Claim ID 86a17a94

A recent Facebook post includes a screenshot from a 2024 World Economic Forum program, taken from the organization's website. The screenshot announces a panel called “Preparing for Disease X,” held on January 17. The caption claims the WEF is planning to unleash a new “fake” disease to impose new regulations and restrictions on people. It reads, “Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum are getting ready for another fake ‘Disease X,’ which would be 20 times deadlier than Covid. They are debating what actions could be required, such restricting your right to free expression if you disagree with their vaccine plans. They freely share their ideas with us before enforcing them.”

Similar claims of plans of a fake pandemic have been made by American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and by various X (formerly Twitter) users. 

Monica Crowley, former Fox News contributor and assistant secretary for public affairs to the Treasury Department during the Trump administration has argued that a new contagion would allow world leaders to implement lockdowns, “restrict free speech and destroy more freedoms.”

In reality, the panel was held to discuss preparations in case of another pandemic, and Disease X refers to a hypothetical disease. 

In fact

The panel referred to in the viral post, titled “Preparing for Disease X” is led by World Health Organisation chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and was held on January 17 during the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Its purpose was to discuss concerns about the potential for a future international pandemic.


Facebook post with screenshot from WEF website. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

Disease X is a placeholder name and is not a reference to a real disease. Scientists do not know what kind of virus might lead to the next pandemic.

The name is derived from “X”, the mathematical term for an unknown. According to the WHO’s website, Disease X “represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease.” 

The term was coined in 2018, when Disease X was added to the WHO’s list of priority pathogens, meaning pathogens with the highest epidemic and pandemic potential. It currently includes, among others, COVID-19, Ebola virus disease, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

Conspiracy theories about Disease X also appeared after a research facility was opened in southwest England, to prepare for a potential Disease X by assessing animal viruses that could potentially infect humans, and pathogens that do not yet have a vaccine. 

According to Fortune magazine, the WEF panel on Disease X has been blown out of proportion. They quote Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who says that people in medical and public health “have always conducted thought experiments and tabletop exercises to prepare for pandemics.”

The viral post plays into existing conspiracy theories about the WEF and pandemics being planned to enforce worldwide vaccinations or impose a Great Reset. Conspiracy theories about a Great Reset gained momentum after the WEF launched a post-pandemic recovery initiative of the same name, where the idea was to harness technology to create a fairer and more sustainable economy. Logically Facts has previously debunked several false claims on this and related conspiracies.

The WEF website states that, according to WHO, a hypothetical pandemic may cause 20 times more deaths than COVID-19. Logically Facts has not found other sources for this and has contacted WHO and WEF for comment. 

The verdict 

Disease X refers to a hypothetical, as yet non-existent pandemic. The panel deals with preparing for such an event. The WEF does not have the authority to impose restrictions on movement or free speech. The post plays into existing conspiracy theories about a Plandemic and Great Reset. We have therefore rated this claim as false. 

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