Saturday, 23 October 2021

Coronavirus – This is like a world war: Bill Gates

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo by: REUTERS / Toru Hanai

LONDON: The coronavirus epidemic has wrought “enormous” global damage on health, wealth and wellbeing, but lockdowns were necessary to avoid millions of deaths, according to Bill Gates.

The Microsoft founder, who has dedicated his retirement to addressing global health issues, said it was “reasonable” for people to ask whether such drastic behavior change, such as social distancing, was necessary.

“Overwhelmingly, the answer is yes. There might be a few areas where the number of cases would never have gotten large numbers of infections and deaths, but there was no way to know in advance which areas those would be,” he said in his blog.

“The change allowed us to avoid many millions of deaths and extreme overload of the hospitals, which would also have increased deaths from other causes.”

However, he said the economic cost that has been paid to reduce the infection rate was unprecedented.

“The drop in employment is faster than anything we have ever experienced. Entire sectors of the economy are shut down. It is important to realize that this is not just the result of government policies restricting activities. When people hear that an infectious disease is spreading widely, they change their behavior.”

Gates said the COVID-19 pandemic – the first modern pandemic – will define this era.

“No one who lives through Pandemic I will ever forget it. And it is impossible to overstate the pain that people are feeling now and will continue to feel for years to come.”

“This is like a world war, except in this case, we’re all on the same side,” he wrote.

Gates showed remarkable prescience in 2015 when he delivered a speech in which he predicted a coronavirus pandemic.

Gates recently recorded a video in which he praised health workers as heroes.

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