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Bill Gates has said he predicts the world will be 'completely back to normal' by the end of 2022.
Yep, on the one hand, the end of next year feels like a long time off right now, but the prospect of a return to complete normality does feel like something we should be excited about - however patient we'll have to be in the meantime.
Speaking to Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and television broadcaster TVN24, 65-year-old Gates said of the pandemic: "This is an incredible tragedy."
He said the only good news we have right now is the access to vaccines, adding: "By the end of 2022 we should be basically completely back to normal."
In his recently-published book, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster - The Solutions We Have And The Breakthroughs We Need, Gates argued that the pandemic has undone 25 years of progress on disease.
The Microsoft co-founder writes: "Globally, Covid-19 has undone decades of progress on poverty and disease.
"As governments moved to deal with the pandemic, they had to pull people and money away from other priorities, including vaccination programmes.
"A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that in 2020, vaccination rates dropped to levels last seen in the 1990s.
"We lost 25 years of progress in about 25 weeks."
He explains that rich nations must invest even more in strengthening world healthcare to be better prepared for another pandemic - proposing that world leaders should work on projects that simultaneously boost Covid-hit economies and fight climate change.
By investing in clean energy development, Gates says, governments can create jobs quickly and help reduce emissions.
He continues: "The year 2020 was a huge and tragic setback. But I am optimistic that we will get Covid-19 under control in 2021.
"And I'm more optimistic that we'll make real progress on climate change - because the world is more committed to solving this problem than it has ever been."
Elsewhere in the book, Gates also outlines the three things he believes will allow us to avoid a 'climate disaster'.
He adds: "The world needs to provide more energy so the poorest can thrive, but we need to provide that energy without releasing any more greenhouse gases.
"Now the problem seemed even harder. It wasn't enough to deliver cheap, reliable energy for the poor. It also had to be clean."
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