Bill Gates: The world is lucky with COVID-19

BILLIONHis costs for the COVID-19 pandemic are staggering, both in terms of human lives and economic activity. But Bill Gates believes that humanity is lucky that this virus is not even more devastating.

“I have to say, given the number of this pandemic is 20 million deaths globally, one million in the US, and it could be even more deadly. We’re just lucky that the mortality rate for each case is 0.2%,” Gates told TIME senior reporter Alice Park in TIME 100 Summit in New York City on Tuesday.

While Official global death toll from COVID-19 is around 6.3 million, experts estimate that the true death toll is much higher. In May, the World Health Organization estimated that there were about 14.9 million pandemic-related deaths in 2020 and 2021.

Gates warns that we shouldn’t expect similar luck in the next global pandemic. Considering how destabilizing the COVID-19 pandemic is, if another virus emerges with a similar virulence but a much higher mortality rate – for example, 5% – it could be a “society end”. end,” Gates said.

And Gates believes there could very well be a next time for many people alive today. “The chance of another pandemic occurring in the next 20 years, whether natural or intentional, is more than 50%,” he said.

Such a warning is especially worrisome coming from someone like Gates, who has spent more than two decades combating humanity’s greatest threats through Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. By that time, Gates had built a reputation as one of the world’s greatest optimists when it came to science’s ability to change the world. And his investments have helped save countless lives, including speeding up the distribution of vaccines for diseases like pneumococcal and rotavirus, funds the distribution of tools such as bed nets to limit the spread of malaria, and invests in research, including a malaria vaccine.

Although Gates hasn’t been shy about raising the alarm when the world is in danger — in 2015, for example, when he warned that the world is not ready for a virus outbreak, he is not a destroyer. In fact, he has repeatedly argued that pandemics are not inevitable. Indeed, his latest book is titled How to Stop the Next Pandemic. As Gates explained in an interview with TIME, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique opportunity to prevent another pandemic from happening again — but only if the world is ready to make a major investment.

Specifically, that means improving technology, including vaccines, treatments and diagnostics; building the health system; and improve global surveillance of the disease. In an interview with TIME, Gates emphasized that these changes are needed in both rich and poor countries, to ensure that scientists everywhere have the resources they need to raise red flags about The bourgeoisie broke out and got them under control in just 100 days, a Gates said during the COVID-19 pandemic, before the virus began to spread exponentially.

To improve global disease surveillance, Gates argues for the creation of a “Global Epidemic Mobilization and Response” team, which includes 3,000 infectious disease experts and will be administered by the World Health Organization. physical. Among other activities, the group will help lead disease control exercises in countries to test their readiness.

Gates said funding such a group would cost about a billion dollars a year. Still, he noted, given the social costs of COVID-19, it’s a bargain if it means preventing another pandemic.

The TIME 100 Summit is an annual live event extension TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. It convenes leaders from the global TIME 100 community to highlight solutions and encourage action towards a better world. This year’s summit is attended by many influential speakers in various fields, including politics, business, health and science, culture, etc.

Speakers for the TIME 100 Summit 2022 include Apple CEO Tim Cookproducer Mindy Kalingfilmmakers Taika WaititiUS Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerrymusician Jon BatistePrime Minister of Barbadian Mia MottleyNBA champion, businessman and philanthropist Dwayne WadeFormer US Congressman. Gabby GiffordsFounder of #MeToo Tarana BurkeACLU Deputy Director for Transgender Justice Chase StrangeFounder and Creative Director Christian Siriano Christian SirianoFounder and Creative Director Brother Vellies Aurora JamesHead of global TV channel Netflix Bela Bajariaauthor and poet Cathy Park HongOlympic Freestyle Ski Champion Eileen Guauthor, poet and president of the Mellon Foundation Elizabeth Alexanderfilmmakers Betsy Westfilmmakers Julie CohenSenior Vice President of BioNTech SE Dr. Katalin Kariko, Ukrayinska Pravda editor Sevgil MusaievaTIME co-chair and Salesforce co-chair and co-CEO Marc Benioff.

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