Interviews with Bill Gates have become a daily thing for mainstream news outlets, and now he’s talking about the expected second wave of the coronavirus. In an interview with NBC’s Today show, he agreed with experts who said the second wave of the coronavirus probably won’t be as bad as the current wave of the virus, discounting the theories of others like Dylan Grice, who warned it could be worse.
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Getting back to normal
Gates said it will be “a while before things go back to normal. ” He said he’d like to say we are halfway through the COVID-19 crisis, but he doesn’t think that’s the case. He noted that it takes time to make a vaccine, and there’s still much about the coronavirus that we don’t understand.
In 2015 he gave a TED Talk in which he predicted a global pandemic that would be 1,000 times worse than the Ebola outbreak. He was asked if the coronavirus is the “highly infectious” virus he expected to kill over 10 million people in the next few decades.
He said that COVID-19 is that virus, calling the human-to-human respiratory spread “the scariest scenario” and ” a nightmare.” Gates also said he wishes the virus would have come about five to 10 years later because governments might have done more preparation for it, and technologies would’ve been further along.
In response to a question about states reopening some parts of their economy, he noted that going back to “normal mixing” could result in an “exponential growth curve.” He also said he was afraid some people and states would move too quickly and have to back off on their plans.
When asked about the second wave of the coronavirus, Bill Gates said if people are careful about social contact and testing capacity increases, hopefully the fall won’t be nearly as bad as the current peak. Like CDC Director Robert Redfield, he warned that the flu will be a challenge because it causes similar respiratory symptoms. He added that it will be difficult to know who to test, so things will be a bit confusing.
Many have reported that we are about 12 to 18 months away from a vaccine for COVID-19, and Gates noted that the timeline is the fast track. It usually takes over give years to develop vaccines because of the many steps involved.
However, because of the serious impact of the coronavirus, the vaccine is needed as soon as possible. He added that about 100 efforts to create a vaccine are underway, and maybe 10 or so should get the resources to build factories and enter production.
The billionaire philanthropist said he has gotten hopeful in the last few weeks that we could see the optimistic side of that time projection.