Almost six years after taking the stage to warn people of the likelihood of a world pandemic caused by a respiratory virus, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has now stated what he believes could be the next two deadly disasters to threaten humanity in an interview with Derek Muller, host of the YouTube channel Veritasium.
Reflecting on his famous prediction and talking about how he feels about being right about the pandemic, Gates explained that climate change and bioterrorism could be the next global catastrophes.
A conversation with Bill Gates
Bill Gates' 2015 Ted Talk titled "The next outbreak? We're not ready," gained traction in March 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a halt. Following the prevention of a global outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014, Gates warned people of a future pandemic and how the world should be well-equipped to tackle it when the time comes.
Recently, on Feb. 4, Gates joined Derek Muller over a video call, stating he doesn't feel any good about his prophecy. "There is no good feeling that comes with something like this," Gates said, adding that he occasionally looks back and thinks whether he could have been more persuasive.
Muller also asked Gates how he precisely predicted a global outbreak back in 2015. Gates explained that with many respiratory viruses existing in the world, it was inevitable that a very infectious one would cause a pandemic at one point.
"There are a number of respiratory viruses, and from time to time, one will come along," he said. "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."
When asked about what could be the next disaster that we are not prepared for, Gates told that he can point out two that fit the bill, voicing his concerns about a possible future that could be even more severe than the current pandemic we are facing.
"One is climate change. Every year that would be a death toll even greater than (what) we've had in this pandemic," and carried on to say that he feels like his other prediction is not talked enough: "Bioterrorism. 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."
Muller also enquired Gates about whether humans will be able to stop the next pandemic thanks to the lessons learned in this one. The answer was, sadly, a "no."
"There will be more pandemics," Gates said. He stated that he believes another pandemic could still create chaos but remained hopeful that if people learned from the pandemic and adapted, things could take a turn for the better.
"We could increase our preparedness so we never have a death toll anywhere near what we have today," Gates said.
You can watch the interview down below: