Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has stated that COVID-related deaths could drop below those caused by the seasonal flu by the middle of the next year, Bloomberg reported.
Gates made the statement during a virtual interview at the New Economy Forum in Singapore, and credited the vaccination rates, natural immunity gained through infections, and emerging oral treatments for COVID to be the main facilitators that will bring down the spread of infection and death rates "pretty dramatically".
Taking that a step further, Gates also predicts infection rates to fall below those of seasonal flu levels by the middle of next year, as long as new dangerous variants do not emerge.
The importance of pandemic preparedness
Gates also expects the supply constraints for vaccines to be resolved by next year. However, the logistics of distributing them to all would be a major hurdle. Also, according to Gates, it is unclear what the degree of demand will be in many nations, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Together, these two factors will decide whether we will be able to vaccinate the world against COVID. Earlier this year, Gates had appealed to the U.S. and the U.K. to aid countries with slow vaccination rates.
Communicable diseases are one of the focus areas for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the non-profit organization Gates has been working with since its founding in 2000. Gates was also one of the people who had been warning the world about the imminent pandemic since 2015 and the steps that needed to be taken to avert a major catastrophe.
Having funded the development of COVID vaccines through the Foundation, Gates had earlier said that the world was not ready for the next pandemic and has even called for a Global Pandemic Taskforce to be set up to prepare for future pandemics and prevent the "devastating global, economical, medical, and emotional events" the world has recently faced.
Gates also sought the eradication of seasonal flu during the interview as a means to reduce the threat of future pandemics. His prediction for normalcy in the latter half of 2022 has been consistent for the most part of this year and hopefully, will stay true.