• As work on a COVID-19 vaccine continues, Bill Gates believes the coronavirus could indirectly be responsible for millions of more deaths in the near future.
  • Due to lockdowns and healthcare systems operating at close to full capacity, individuals in many countries have been unable to access non-coronavirus related medical care.

The strain that the coronavirus has put on healthcare systems across the globe could very well result in millions of more deaths over the next two years, according to remarks made by Bill Gates. During a recent interview with Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist, Gates explained that lockdowns designed to prevent the coronavirus from spreading have also impacted the ability for people to access medical care for other conditions. This dynamic, Gates noted, is poised to hit underdeveloped countries battling malaria and HIV the hardest.

During the interview, Gates lamented the United States’ response to the coronavirus insofar that decisive action wasn’t taken sooner.

Gates explained:

We certainly didn’t get ready, we didn’t run the simulations to realize that getting testing up quickly would be important. So we failed before it came along. And then once it hit, we also made some mistakes. Overall the response has been less good than I expected. The damage, economically and health-wise, has been far greater than I would have expected with a virus like this.

As to the politicization of the United States’ response to the coronavirus, Gates said he isn’t exactly sure that things would improve if Joe Biden is elected President.

“I don’t know that changing administrations will get people to wear more masks,” Gates opined.

When asked about China’s response to the coronavirus, Gates articulated that the country did an admirable job of containing the coronavirus even though they were perhaps too passive in combating it early on.

“Well, the country where a new virus shows up first has the toughest job, because they have no warning at all,” Gates said. “And so it’s likely to get out in fairly big numbers. They clearly made mistakes. There were warning signs, people talking about it. They didn’t go after it in the month of December and even in January. In retrospect, they could have rung alarm the bell more loudly than they did.”

“After that,” Gates continued, “although in their typical authoritarian way, they did a very good job of suppressing the virus. There may have been a lot of individual rights that were violated there, but the overall macro effect that they achieved is kind of amazing.”

Gates’ full interview can be viewed below and is well worth checking out.

It’s worth noting that Gates has been warning about the danger of a global pandemic for years. During a now-famous TED Talk he delivered a few years ago, Gates emphatically said that the next global catastrophe wouldn’t result from a world war or a nuclear attack, but from a highly infectious virus.

As a final point, Gates has previously said that there’s a strong chance we’ll have an effective coronavirus vaccine later this year and that the United States will likely be able to put the virus in the rearview mirror by the end of 2021. Less developed countries, meanwhile, may not be able to conquer the coronavirus until 2022.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.