Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates warned, “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war – not missiles, but microbes.”
“Part of the reason is we have invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents, but we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic,” he said during a TED Talk in Vancouver, B.C., in 2015.
“We’re not ready for the next epidemic.”
In February 2020, Gates said COVID-19 may be the “once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about.”
“I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise,” Gates wrote in an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Gates said COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the world because it’s much more deadly and contagious than many other deadly viruses.
“First, it can kill healthy adults in addition to elderly people with existing health problems,” he wrote. “Second, Covid-19 is transmitted quite efficiently. The average infected person spreads the disease to two or three others — an exponential rate of increase.” World health leaders say the disease is spread by people who are mildly ill or don’t show any symptoms at all, making it harder to contain and more contagious than other types of viruses.
In October 2019 – weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak was identified in China – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted a high-level simulation exercise for pandemic preparedness and response.
After the exercise, World Economic Forum President Børge Brende and Ryan Morhard, said what they learned was that we’re “woefully unprepared.”
–Photo screenshot of Bill Gates/TED TAlk
–George Brownwell/Alberta Press
Like and follow us on Facebook
Keep up with Alberta’s top stories Follow us on TwitterFollow @AlbertaPress