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It’s hard to tell if the world is still listening to me, says Bill Gates on next pandemic

It’s hard to tell if the world is still listening to me, says Bill Gates on next pandemic
May 01
16:51 2022

Bill Gates, chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), says it’s hard to tell if the world is still listening to him and his messages about the next pandemic. 

Speaking to TheCable, Gates said the world has many challenges at the moment, from the war in Ukraine to the conflict in Ethiopia and inflation around the globe.

Unveiling his new book, “How to prevent the next pandemic“, Gates said  90 percent of people who saw his TED talk predicting the coronavirus pandemic watched it after it was too late.

In that 2015 TED talk, which now has 36 million views on YouTube, the billionaire warned that the world was not ready for the next outbreak.

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He recommended a few way to prepare for the pandemic, which he said could be caused by coronaviruses, but not much was said to have been done until COVID-19 hit in 2019/2020.

Asked if he thinks the world is listening, Gates said: “It’s hard to say. The world has a lot of challenges. You’ve got the war in Ukraine, you’ve got unrest in Ethiopia, you’ve got unrest in other parts of Africa”.

“It’s not a simple situation, and sadly, the world’s going through bout of inflation, particularly or food prices and fuel prices. We’ll see fertilizer costs go up, and we’re super worried that that means a lot of African farmers will use less fertilizer. And then that means you have less food a year from now, and that can be self-reinforcing.”

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He added that the Gates Foundation itself is working on other challenges asides pandemic preparedness, but investing in avoiding the next outbreak is an obvious thing to do.

“It’s not like, even for the foundation, we’re only working on pandemic preparedness. We’re still working on nutrition, and HIV and malaria, but given that it cost trillions and that the investment to avoid this is just billions, it seems like the most obvious thing.

“After we had world wars, we did work. We created the United Nations and lots of ways that fortunately, have minimized at least the larger wars since that was over.”

GATES PROPOSES GERM

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To prevent the next pandemic, Gates is proposing a Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization team (GERM), which would monitor potential health threats all over the world.

He said “I do expect the debate during the next year to take some of my ideas and other people’s ideas and say, governments owe it to their citizens, like they prepare for earthquakes or fires or war, that they need to do this”.

He said the pandemic deeply affected rich countries, hence, the financing for the GERM, “the financing for the innovation and even some of the financing for the health systems should come from the rich countries”.

He, however, added that he “can’t guarantee it because they have so many priorities and the pandemic stretched their budgets in an extreme way”.

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Gates said the world can spend $150 billion in five years to prevent the next pandemic or lose trillions of dollars to the next pandemic.

He said $150 billion sounds like a lot of money until you learn that the International Monetary Fund estimates this pandemic will cost $12.5 trillion over just five years.

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