Bill Gates Shared Chilling Warning About Threat Of Pandemic In 2015
| Last updated
Bill Gates warned of the threat posed by a highly infectious virus back in 2015.
You of course don't need telling that the world now finds itself in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 2.3 million lives across the globe.
For many people, it came as a huge shock when the disease started to spread across the planet a year ago, but Microsoft founder Gates has long warned of such a threat.
In a 2015 TED Talk, he said: "If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it's most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes."
He went on to reiterate the importance of preparedness, citing the threat posed by an airborne virus.
He said: "Failure to prepare could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola.
"Ebola does not spread through the air, and by the time you're contagious, most people are so sick that they're bedridden.
"You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they're infectious that they get on a plane, or they go to a market."
He added: "This is a serious problem. We should be concerned."
Gates shared the same message in 2018 during a discussion about epidemics hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine.
He said: "There's one area though where the world isn't making such progress, and that's pandemic preparedness."
He explained that if you told governments around the world that weapons were being created that held the power to kill 30 million, there would be an obvious sense of urgency about preparing people for the threat.
"In the case of biological threats, that sense of urgency is lacking," he said.
"The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war."
Looking forwards, the 65-year-old thinks climate change and bioterrorism are the greatest threats to the planet.
Reflecting on his previous predictions on YouTube channel Veritasium, he said: "There's no good feeling that comes with something like this saying 'I told you so'.
"Could I have been more persuasive?
"There are a number of respiratory viruses and from time to time one will come along.
"Respiratory diseases are very scary because you're still walking around on a plane, a bus when you're infectious. Unlike some other diseases like Ebola where you are mostly in a hospital bed by the time viral load infects other people."
Offering his predictions for the future, he said: "One is climate change. Every year that would be a death toll even greater than we have had in this pandemic.
"[The other is] Bioterrorism. Somebody who wants to cause damage could engineer a virus and that means the cost, the chance of running into this is more than the naturally-caused epidemics like the current one."