Next 4-6 months could be worst of Covid-19 pandemic: Bill Gates

PTI Washington | Updated on December 14, 2020

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose foundation has been part of the effort to develop and deliver Covid-19 vaccines, has warned that the next four-six months could be the worst of the pandemic.

In recent weeks, the US has been experiencing record-high cases, deaths and hospitalisations.

“I thought the US would do a better job handling it,” Gates, who in 2015 had warned the world of such a pandemic, said on Sunday.

“Sadly, the next four-six months could be the worst of the pandemic. The IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) forecast shows over 200,000 additional deaths. If we would follow the rules, in terms of wearing masks and not mixing, we could avoid a large percentage of those deaths,” Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, told CNN.

Covid-19 has so far killed more than 290,000 people in the US.

“Overall, when I did the forecasts in 2015, I talked about the deaths potentially being higher. So, this virus could be more fatal than it is. We didn’t get the worst-case. But the thing that has surprised me is that the economic impact in the US and around the world has been much greater than the forecasts that I made five years ago,” he said.

Gates said that his foundation had been funding a lot of the research for the vaccines.

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The US need to help all of humanity, Gates said when asked of the executive order signed by President Donald Trump which prioritises distribution of the vaccine to Americans before it goes to people in other countries.

“So, we need to ramp up the capacity of all the vaccines. There will be some additional ones approved in the months ahead that are easier to scale up the manufacturing. But the US has benefited from other countries’ work care, and we shouldn’t be entirely selfish in how we go forward,” he added.

In response to another question, Gates said that the “transition is complicating” the fight against coronavirus pandemic.

“But the new administration is willing to rely on actual experts, and not attack those experts. They’re laying out clear plans. So, I think we will get through this in a positive way. I’m pleased with the people and the priority that the president-elect, Biden, and his team are bringing to bear on this problem,” he said.

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Published on December 14, 2020

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