By Arthur F. Beaugeard

It is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Few expected such a large and deadly pandemic to arrive and bring a halt to our way of living, few indeed, save for Gates. 

In a May 2015 interview, Gates ruminated on what he was most worried about. After listing the usual suspects, namely earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and nuclear war, Gates revealed his biggest fear: “I rate the chance of a widespread epidemic worse than Ebola in my lifetime as well over 50%.” 

Gates went on to remind listeners about the Spanish Flu, which was an effective respiratory disease because it combined a high death rate with a high rate of transmission. The Coronavirus meets all these criteria, with the numbers of infected rising by tens of thousands every day and the death rate currently hovering around 4.3% worldwide.

Gates ran a computer model which placed a disease similar to the Spanish Flu in the modern world, and due to the amount of travel being “50 times greater,” he found the “eye-opening” result of this experiment was that such a disease would spread faster than it would have a century prior despite our improved healthcare systems. Within a hundred days, such a pathogen would penetrate every urban center on the globe. “This is the most likely thing, by far, to kill 10 million excess people in a year.” Quotes’ Gates.

Since being proven 100% correct during the current pandemic, Gates remains optimistic, saying that if we, as a species, do everything right, the economy can re-open in 6-10 weeks. He advises a complete lockdown, which will cause cases to peak and start to level off in several weeks. He further pontificated that the vaccine, which is estimated to arrive in 18 months, could be released earlier for health care workers, although the logistics of this remain unclear. 

Fortunately, Bill says that if the U.S. and other nations follow the lead of many East Asian countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, the virus can be contained—and as of yet, there’s no reason to believe there will be a second wave.

Things that these communities have done and hopefully will continue to do to contain the second wave include quarantining infected people and everyone they came into contact with for two weeks, punishing people who go outside, and making sure everyone is informed of basic hygiene procedures. The best thing that individuals can do is to not only stay inside and wash one’s hands regularly but to also pressure other people to do the same.

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