Bill Gates says these are the next 2 COVID-level disasters that will rock the world

In 2015 Bill Gates gave a TED Talk in which he warned of a virus that could spread exponentially because “people feel well enough while they’re infectious that they get on a plane or they go to a market.” Five years later, that omen, unfortunately, came true with the coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 2.3 million people across the world. Now the Microsoft founder has predictions for the next two natural disasters that will devastate the global population.

How Gates predicted the pandemic

Between 2013 and 2016, an acutely transmissive Ebola strain ravaged the West African territories of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.Gates (with the help of his wife Melinda and the Gates Foundation) dedicated economic resources to the development of countermeasures devised against continued outbreaks.

“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a tragedy—as I write this, more than 10,000 people have died. I’ve been getting regular updates on the case counts through the same system we use to track new cases of polio. Also, last month I was lucky enough to have an in-depth discussion with Tom Frieden and his team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta,” Gates wrote of the experience in his monthly blog. 

“What I’ve learned is very sobering. As awful as this epidemic has been, the next one could be much worse. The world is simply not prepared to deal with a disease—an especially virulent flu, for example—that infects large numbers of people very quickly. Of all the things that could kill 10 million people or more, by far the most likely is an epidemic.” 

Gates’ clairvoyance in this has often been cited in favor of a rotating carousel of conspiracy theories. These range in rigor and vulgarity.

However, if you’ve read any of Gates’ musings on the ebola crisis of 2013 or even the essays he’s contributed to The New England Journal of Medicine on the coronavirus presently causing socio-economic disruption, you get a better insight into the magnate’s near misanthropic outlook on this topic.

In his estimation, there are two prominent threats facing the modern world. “One is climate change. Every year that would be a death toll even greater than we have had in this pandemic,” Gates recently explained in a YouTube interview. “There’s no good feeling that comes with something like this.”

The other threat he warned of was bio-terrorism. “Somebody who wants to cause damage could engineer a virus and that means the cost, the chance of running into this is more than the naturally-caused epidemics like the current one.”

The world has actually failed to contain viral outbreaks many times in the recent past, only the stakes weren’t always as high as they seem now. Whether we’re talking about yellow fever, AIDS, or the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2),  choreographing a unified response to disease appears to only be marginally more achievable in 2021 than it was a century ago. A part of this comes down to a dearth of necessary precautions.

Gates was not the only academician on the front lines of the Ebola epidemic urging for systemic change in the way the world confronts dangerous pathogens. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the angel on Washington’s shoulder to many in the COVID-era, actually treated the first patient to contract the dangerous ebola strain on US soil a few years back.

“We’re going to have other Ebola outbreaks. History tells us that Ebola just doesn’t disappear and go away,” Fauci said at the time.

“We’ve had about 24 outbreaks since about 1976. Most of them have been relatively minor–nothing along the scale that we’ve seen now in West Africa. All of us in the public sector believe that there will be other Ebola outbreaks and that’s the reason why we need to be prepared. If we had an effective vaccine available to deploy in the very beginning of this outbreak, we likely would have saved a lot of suffering disease and death.”

In preparation for these hypothetical catastrophes, Gates called for a global warning and response system for emerging epidemics.

“It would apply the kind of planning that goes into national defense—systems for recruiting, training, and equipping health workers; investments in new tools; etc.—to the effort to prevent and contain outbreaks,” he continued. “Respiratory diseases are very scary because you’re still walking around on a plane, a bus when you’re infectious. Unlike some other diseases like Ebola where you are mostly in a hospital bed by the time viral load infects other people.”

A codified national response was always going to be a long shot, even without the politicizing of public health measures that defined American coronavirus outbreaks. 

Data has shown that COVID cases haven’t meaningfully decreased because efforts to contain them have been realized disparately. Some states shut down for a period of time while not enforcing travel bans. While some counties within those same states failed to implement relevant guidance on dining, transportation, and hosting guests. This disparity is perhaps doubly apparent among civilians.

There may be this idea that because we live in a first-world nation we’re immune to the depth of destruction that engulfs poorer countries. That’s likely true to some extent but when a crisis reaches the global stage its potential becomes limitless. As seen with SARS-CoV-2, nations impacted by COVID have regressed measurably as a direct result.

“Melinda and I remain committed to improving the health of the poorest 2 billion. The good news is, many of the steps required to save lives in poor countries—such as strengthening health systems—also improve the world’s ability to deal with epidemics,” Gates concluded. “So I’m optimistic that we can solve this problem. Making the right investments now could save millions of lives.”