This is what Bill Gates predicts 2021 is going to look like

On the bright side, next year can’t get much worse than this year. The doom and gloom of 2020 will shortly be coming to an end on a calendar in 10 days, but the coronavirus pandemic will largely loom around us well into 2021 and years beyond.

More than 1.6 million people have died because of the virus that shutdown America back in March. Unemployment reached record highs. Add in the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer months and the theatrics of the election in November and our brains are likely fried.

But as many have said — there’s light at the end of the tunnel. While social distancing and mask-wearing will continue into next year, a vaccine is here and soon, hopefully, we’ll be back into our ways of living: The commute to work, the midday coffee runs, the happiest hours, and maybe catching a movie at night.

Some could argue that in today’s current climate these realities aren’t possible, but they likely aren’t reading what Microsoft founder Bill Gates has to say.

Gates has been vocal throughout the pandemic, voicing his displeasure at how the US has handled nationwide shutdowns to explaining how the workforce worldwide will forever be different due to the pandemic.

While we wait to see if Gates’ theory on the work-from-home revolution sticks around after the pandemic, the billionaire philanthropist said not all was lost in 2020. In fact, it was a big year in science.

“When I think back on the pace of scientific advances in 2020, I am stunned,” Gates wrote on his blog “Gates Notes” this week. “Humans have never made more progress on any disease in a year than the world did on COVID-19 this year. Under normal circumstances, creating a vaccine can take 10 years. This time, multiple vaccines were created in less than one year.”

In the post, Gates spoke not only about the perils of the coronavirus and the effect it’s had on our lives, but how as a society we’ve grown and become better from it.

Here’s a greatest hits of what Gates had to say.

More vaccines

Two vaccines — one by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech — have started to be distributed in the US after receiving emergency clearance earlier this month.

More will follow.

“With so many companies pursuing different approaches, there was a much better chance that some would prove to be safe and effective. There are two already and more may be coming, Gates said.

Gates said it’s a good problem to have so many companies competing with vaccines because it allows for many people to show their expertise.

Teamwork for a good cause

Normally, companies would be competing with each other but the urge to find a vaccine has opened up a path for many to work together. Gates said it’s called a “second-source agreement,” which pairs vaccine companies in rich areas with others in developing countries to produce doses safely and at a high volume.

From Gates:

A second-source agreement is designed to make the most of both skill sets. A company that excels at production agrees to manufacture products designed by another company with a viable vaccine candidate. For example, the biggest vaccine manufacturer in the world, Serum Institute of India, is producing doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. They’ve already begun production, so there will be doses available for low- and middle-income countries if AZ’s vaccine is approved for use. And our foundation took on some of the financial risk, so if it doesn’t get approved, Serum won’t have to take

Testing still needs to get better — but it’s getting there

While Gates has railed on testing and how long it takes for results in the US, he said that the recent approval of at-home tests can allow people to “act quickly” and protect those who they love around them.

“One cool innovation that’s making this work possible is the ability to let people collect their own samples by swabbing the tip of their nose,” he said. “If you’ve ever had one of the nasopharyngeal tests, you know how uncomfortable they are—and how they can make you cough or sneeze, which is bad news with a respiratory virus like COVID-19 because it increases risks to healthcare workers. With any luck, the days of the jam-a-stick-to-the-back-of-your-throat COVID-19 test will soon be over.”