Bill Gates has shared his predications on when lives may go back to normal next year, saying the coronavirus vaccines should start to have a ‘global impact’ by spring.
The Microsoft billionaire also reckons that while we will likely have to live with various restrictions, eventually, life ‘will be much closer to normal than it is now’.
Gates discussed his thoughts on what has been a ‘devastating year’ in a new post on his blog, GatesNotes, promising that there is ‘good news coming in 2021.
Gates warned that we are ‘not out of the woods quite yet’, explaining how computer models suggest the pandemic could get ‘even worse over the next month or so’ and that we need to learn about the new variant of the virus – which appears to spread faster but not to be more deadly.
But he also flagged some positive news that we can cling onto as we enter 2021, writing: “There are two main reasons to be hopeful. One is that masks, social distancing, and other interventions can slow the spread of the virus and save lives while vaccines are being rolled out.
“The other reason to be hopeful is that in the spring of 2021, the vaccines and treatments you’ve been reading about in the news will start reaching the scale where they’ll have a global impact. Although there will still need to be some restrictions (on big public gatherings, for example), the number of cases and deaths will start to go down a lot–at least in wealthy countries–and life will be much closer to normal than it is now.“
Gates – who is the world’s second richest man – previously said he believed a deadly disease was on its way, forewarning the world that we wouldn’t be ready for such a global pandemic.
Speaking back in 2018 during a discussion about epidemics, hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine, Gates explained how a new pandemic would probably kill 30 million within six months, adding that we should prepare for it as we would for a war.
Fast forward to this year, and the businessman has donated tens of millions of dollars through the Gates Foundation to the fight against coronavirus.
Hailing the development of vaccines as a key reason to remain hopeful, Gates praised the co-operation of scientists around the globe, who have managed to produce not one solution, but several – with Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca among approved vaccines in some countries.
“Given the scale of the problem and the urgency of solving it, many pharmaceutical companies are seeing the benefit of working together in new ways like this,” he said.
“It’s similar to how, during World War II, the U.S. ramped up its manufacturing capacity at a mind-blowing rate by converting auto factories into tank and truck factories–only this time, the government isn’t involved. Companies are responding to the crisis by doing away with business as usual.”
He added: “This global cooperation is one reason why I see promise in the year ahead–and not only the promise of getting the pandemic under control. I believe the world also has a chance to take concrete steps on one of the other great challenges of our time: climate change.“
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