Bill Gates on Pandemic Coronavirus
Disease X may be upon us and the first cases in vulnerable nations like Nigeria have already been reported. This is perhaps one of the worst fears of Bill Gates.
Bill Gates says the coronavirus is a pandemic and a ‘once-in-a-century pathogen.’ The WHO says it has ‘pandemic potential’, and the CDC didn’t even have working tests to give the American public a clearer idea about how much community transmission is occurring at home. With cases rising quickly in Italy, France and Germany, the U.S. is not likely to be that different.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world, is actively working to combat the impact of the coronavirus as part of its broader effort to promote global health . However a vaccine is at least 1 year off, according to the experts.
Gates also pointed out COVID-19′s current predicted fatality rate is higher than that of the 1957 influenza pandemic, which killed an estimated 66,000 people in the U.S. The coronavirus is more contagious than many people realize since China implemented very draconian measures that would be impossible to replicate in other countries.
Why should the opinion of Bill Gates matter? He’s a bit like an expert on this potential. Gates wrote in an article published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine. Oddly, for decades, experts’ warnings to prepare have gone unheeded. It’s no surprise then that we are not prepared, on every level.
While governments and citizens across the globe prepare and react in assorted way to various stages of the coronavirus pandemic , when Trump, China and the WHO downplay the fear, Gates is saying immediate action is necessary.
- According to Gates, COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the world because it’s far more deadly and contagious than many other deadly viruses.
- Gates referred to the outbreak as a pandemic, even though the World Health Organization has not yet made that declaration.
- Judging from how China, Iran and the U.S. are handling the situation, it’s probable that the anti-fear campaign and information control political aspect actually sabotage a nation’s ability to deal effectively with the immensity of the problem.
- Experts like Bill Gates know for Africa it will be much worse than China.
- If Covid-19 is Disease X, it’s a once-in-a-century pandemic with the potential to kill millions. This is because the virus could infect up to 60% of the world’s population. This is according to Prof Gabriel Leung, the Chair of Public Health Medicine at Hong Kong University.
Read the articles by Bill Gates here.
The data so far suggest that the virus has a case fatality risk around 1%; this rate would make it many times more severe than typical seasonal influenza, putting it somewhere between the 1957 influenza pandemic (0.6%) and the 1918 influenza pandemic (2%).2 – Bill Gates
2- The Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology Team. The epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — China, 2020. China CDC Weekly 2020;2:1-10.
Bill Gates however is not an alarmist, his estimates are conservative with the lack of data we have:
- The average infected person spreads the disease to two or three others — an exponential rate of increase.
- There is also strong evidence that it can be transmitted by people who are just mildly ill or even presymptomatic.
- Covid-19 has already caused 10 times as many cases as SARS in a quarter of the time.
- The data so far suggest that the virus has a case fatality risk around 1%.
In epicenter regions the CFR is actually closer to 4%, when health workers become infected and the system breaks down like it did in Wuhan, Hubei Province. There’s no reason to suppose there won’t be such cities in further outbreaks.
While children won’t be impacted, we know men over 60 in particular will be.
An op-ed by one of the world’s richest men in the world won’t unfortunately help Governments and countries handle the virus better because a pandemic knows no borders or boundaries. We’re more interconnected as a species than we ever have been.
Depending on the quality of care that a patient receives, the mortality rate for the virus can range from 0.7 percent to 4 percent, Gates explained. But when you have thousands of cases locally, that care cannot be maintained for long. It’s likely to be 10 times more deadly than the flu, but in a scale of millions, that’s also a lot of death.
If China couldn’t contain the virus, even with such drastic measures, how well will Europe, Africa, the Middle East or North America fare? We have to begin to be realistic.
Gates said that its current average estimated fatality rate of around 1% places it somewhere between the 1957 Asian flu pandemic (0.6%) that killed 1.1 million people and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic (2%) that killed 50 million around the world, according to data from the Centers] for Disease Control and Prevention.
If our leaders were transparent about the actual data, they would say we could lose 3 to 50 million lives globally due to Covid-19. That’s what the numbers tell us. Bill Gates is a concerned citizen, but he’s not a global leader per se.
“I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise,” Gates said in his article. We can hope so too.
Action Plan of Bill Gates for Pandemic
- It’s essential to help low- and middle-income countries strengthen their primary health care systems.
- The world needs to invest in disease surveillance, including a case database that is instantly accessible to the relevant organizations and rules that require countries to share their information.
- We need to build a system that can develop safe and effective vaccines and antivirals, get them approved, and deliver billions of doses within a few months of the discovery of a fast-moving pathogen.
- In addition to technical solutions, diplomatic efforts are needed to drive international collaboration and data sharing.
- Budgets for these efforts need to be expanded several times over.
- Governments and industry will need to come to an agreement: during a pandemic, vaccines and antivirals won’t simply be sold to the highest bidder. They’ll be available and affordable for people who are at the heart of the outbreak and in greatest need.
Let’s see in 2020 if we are able to implement these. How well we achieve them may mean the difference between thousands and millions of lives.