Bill Gates: 'Impossible to Overstate the Pain' We'll Face

Billionaire warns 'first modern pandemic' is far from over
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2020 12:14 PM CDT
Bill Gates: 'Impossible to Overstate the Pain' We'll Face
Bill Gates is pictured at the Reaching The Last Mile forum in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 19, 2019.   (Jonathan Gibbons/Reaching the Last Mile Forum via AP Images)

Bill Gates has plenty to say about the current pandemic—more than 6,000 words, in fact. In a blog post, the billionaire philanthropist offers what Axios calls a "brutal reality check on the coronavirus reopening," noting we do not yet have the innovations—in treatment, testing, contact tracing, and vaccines—needed for life to return to normal. "This is like a world war," he writes. "During World War II, an amazing amount of innovation, including radar, reliable torpedoes, and code-breaking, helped end the war faster. This will be the same with the pandemic." While he predicts schools and restaurants will reopen over the next two months, Gates says social distancing rules that have "allowed us to avoid many millions of deaths" will remain in effect. People will be able to "go out, but not as often, and not to crowded places," he writes. It's bound to be a confusing time.

"Some locations that maintain behavior change will experience exponential decline. However, as behavior goes back to normal, some locations will stutter along with persistent clusters of infections and some will go back into exponential growth," he writes. Though most vaccines take five years to get to market, Gates believes one could arrive in nine months to two years, per CNBC. In the meantime, health workers and the symptomatic need priority testing, ideally at home, and results in 24 hours, Gates writes. He notes leaders are working to institute "the new tools I've discussed." But he doesn't sugar-coat the situation. "It is impossible to overstate the pain that people are feeling now and will continue to feel for years to come," he writes. "The COVID-19 pandemic—the first modern pandemic—will define this era." Read the full post here. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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