Bill Gates warns COVID-19 risks reduced, but another pandemic is at hand

The next pandemic will be a different pathogen, Gates said.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Bill Gates holding his book.Gates Notes

Just last month, visionary billionaire Bill Gates warned of pandemics that could turn out worse than COVID-19.

On Friday, the entrepreneur told CNBC that the risks of severe disease from the coronavirus have “dramatically reduced” but another pandemic is at hand.

The warning is bound to scare anyone who is familiar with Gates' accurate predictions.

Another pandemic on the way

“We’ll have another pandemic. It will be a different pathogen next time,” Gates said to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at Germany’s annual Munich Security Conference.

He said that the coronavirus pandemic has been subdued as many parts of the population have gained some level of immunity. Gates further added that in many regions it was the virus itself that had created that immunity and that it had “done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines.”

“The chance of severe disease, which is mainly associated with being elderly and having obesity or diabetes, those risks are now dramatically reduced because of that infection exposure,” he explained.

Too little too late 

Gates also planned for the future, telling CNBC that the next time a pandemic appeared the world should move faster to engineer and deliver vaccines. “Next time we should try and make it, instead of two years, we should make it more like six months,” Gates said.

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Gates added that aims to reach the World Health Organization’s goal to vaccinate 70% of the global population by mid-2022 were just  “too late," illustrating how delayed the world was in executing this current vaccination strategy.

Today, only 61.9% of the world has been vaccinated with a single shot.

Still, Gates has hope that authorities will do better with the next pandemic as the process of tackling it is fairly simple and not too expensive. “The cost of being ready for the next pandemic is not that large. It’s not like climate change. If we’re rational, yes, the next time we’ll catch it early.”

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