Covid pandemic ‘gigantic setback’ for progress of humanity, says Bill Gates

Bill Gates called for investment in creating a global pandemic preparedness system

Namita Singh
Friday 29 January 2021 09:24
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<p>File Image: Melinda Gates and Bill Gates speak during the Lin-Manuel Miranda In conversation with Bill &amp; Melinda Gates panel at Hunter College on February 13, 2018 in New York City</p>

File Image: Melinda Gates and Bill Gates speak during the Lin-Manuel Miranda In conversation with Bill & Melinda Gates panel at Hunter College on February 13, 2018 in New York City

Bill Gates has said that the coronavirus pandemic, almost like the World War in scale, is a “gigantic setback” for humanity, but has held out hope that in two to five years normalcy will be restored as the infection abates.

“The pandemic is certainly a gigantic setback, and it’s actually hard to measure because although the economic figures are clear, there are lots of mental health problems,” the billionaire philanthropist said in an interview with the Indian Express. 

“Somewhere between two to five years from now, we will get back to where we were before the pandemic came so it’s not a permanent reduction,” the Microsoft founder told the national daily. 

Explaining the proportion of the devastation caused by the virus, Mr Gates said, “it is almost like World War in terms of scale, because even countries without many deaths have seen their economies devastated.”   

On Wednesday, Mr Gates also outlined his ambitious plan to prevent the next pandemic outbreak, as he called for investment in creating a global pandemic preparedness system. “The world needs to spend billions to save trillions (and prevent millions of deaths),” he said in an annual newsletter co-authored by Melinda Gates

Mr and Ms Gates, who oversee the Seattle-based Gates Foundation, said that huge amounts of money need to be spent on scientific research, mass testing, alert systems and an international team of ‘infectious disease first responders’ capable of raising the alarm about new diseases.  

“By the next pandemic,” the Gates couple is hopeful, that we’ll have “mega-diagnostic platforms, which could test as much as 20 per cent of the global population every week.”

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