Bill Gates warned on Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, saying there could be a variant that is “even more transmissive and even more fatal.”
“We haven’t even seen the worst of it,” he said in an interview.
While not wanting to be a “voice of doom and gloom,” the risk of a more virulent variant emerging is “way above 5%,” the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist told the Financial Times.
“We’re still at risk of this pandemic generating a variant that would be even more transmissive and even more fatal,” he said, adding that longer-lasting vaccines which block infection are urgently required.
He is urging the creation of a team of international experts ranging from epidemiologists to computer modelers to identify threats and improve international coordination.
He is also calling for a global epidemic response team, managed by the World Health Organization, and says extra investment is vital.
“It seems wild to me that we could fail to look at this tragedy and not, on behalf of the citizens of the world, make these investments,” he said.
While acknowledging that the war in Ukraine is dominating the international agenda at present, he added: “The amount of money involved is very small compared to the benefit and it will be a test: can global institutions take on new responsibilities in an excellent way?”
Bill Gates says distrust of governments fuels the COVID-19 pandemic
Gates, one of the world’s wealthiest people, has written a book called How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.
Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he has partnered with the U.K.’s WeLlcome Trust to donate $300 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which helped form the COVAX program to deliver vaccines to low-income and middle-income countries.
Writing recently in his own blog about the outlook for 2022, Bill Gates identified one major concern: people’s distrust of governments.
The billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft in a blog post, titled “Reasons for optimism after a difficult year,” made multiple rosy prognostications—from the COVID-19 pandemic potentially ending to the oncoming rise of the metaverse.
However, a particular problem could slow or derail much of that progress; he pointed to people’s distrust of governments in his prediction. “It’s one of the issues I’m most worried about heading into 2022,” he wrote.