Admirers and critics of Bill Gates seem to share an interest in his prophetic sensibilities. There’s practically a genre dedicated to footage of the developer forecasting everything from Zoom meetings to the looming automation boom.
There isn’t anything supernatural at play here and his predictions aren’t immune to deviation. People value Gates’ input because it typically comes from a thoughtful, well-reasoned place—even when it’s incorrect or upsetting.
Last week, we got our share of the upsetting when Gates told Fox’s Chris Wallace that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely disrupt normal life until 2022 at the earliest.
Today we unpack the optimistic pillars from the same prophecy.
During a talk at the virtual GeekWire Summit, the Microsoft founder spoke to the developments initiated in response to the novel coronavirus that will continue to improve the world long after its destructive influence has been neutralized.
“The pandemic is a gigantic setback, but progress will continue to take place. And I’m upbeat even about bringing the pandemic to a close,” Gates said of the advancements being made on its behalf.
If we squint, some of these are even apparent in pedestrian life. In the months since lockdown, I’m sure you’ve been attacked by the sudden and violent awareness that you use to rub your eyes with the same hand you gripped subway poles with. How often if ever did you wash your hands between touching your phone and eating a meal?
Is anyone ever going to enjoy a massive concert again? Is anyone ever going to blow on a birthday cake, like celebrity event designer, Edward Perotti asked us in a recent chat? For Gates, the scope reaches beyond parties and concerts of course.
Academicians achieved incredible things on the COVID front in an impressively short amount of time. Thanks to their work we have a general idea of the temperatures at which the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is the most stable. We know how many viral particles a mask needs to be able to block to be considered effective.
Researchers have canonized an incubation period for the virus, so carriers know how long they need to self-quarantine to protect their community. And most importantly, we are aware of the populations that are disproportionately affected by COVId-19. The strength of these data sets doesn’t survive on pandemic life. Vulnerable patient samples should always be prioritized, irrespective of the state of public health.
“Slowly but surely we’re recognizing how we treat minorities, how we treat women. We’re beginning to understand things like Alzheimer’s and diabetes,” Gates continued during the summit. “I do think the pandemic has exacerbated inequality in every dimension. I’d like to see philanthropic giving go up. Not just in dollars but all the workers participating in various causes to help out those who have been less fortunate.”
Gates lamented the polarization of public health soon after. The pandemic has been politicized that’s true, but I think it’s a mistake to place the blame squarely on the public.
Cable news loves running stories about people getting drop kicked in Buffalo Wild Wings over mask protocols while ignoring the role they played in replacing watering holes with barbed arenas.
It’s a fallacy that you have to discuss politics with a vein bulging in your neck. And it isn’t actually possible to ascertain character from a person based on their favorite electoral periapt.
Despite the conspiracies floating around claiming Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci are profiting off of mass death and hospitalizations, the former is confident that the pandemic will blur lines separating classes, races, gender, and even political parties.
“There is a lot to be learned from missteps made early on in the pandemic, Gates said. “Funding for infectious disease research will also rise now that governments understand how much money is needed for pandemic preparedness.”
Because COVID-19 has crippled every facet of life around the world, people from every facet of life have come together to eradicate it. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding COVID-19’s presentation in critical cases, but when it comes to research, no negative outcome is without cause.
“I think what we’re going to see is the US is an expansion of cases because of people being indoors and transmission dynamics shifting,” added Linda Stewart of the Gates Foundation. “But treatments are getting better. The case fatality rate could plateau or go even go down. “