Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates says the world faces the risk of viral pandemics like the coronavirus every 20 years or so.
The Microsdoft co founder also said that although some governments failed to plan for the current crisis, they will be prepared for the future.
“A vaccine platform, cheap, fast diagnostics — these are not things that are only valuable for an epidemic.”
He said world leaders and global policymakers have “paid many trillions of dollars more than we might have had to if we’d been properly ready.”
“This is the biggest event that people will experience in their entire lives,” Gates told FT.
He said that in response to this outbreak, future governments will have “standby diagnostics, deep antiviral libraries, and early warning systems.”
“The cost of doing all those things well is very small compared to what we’re going through here,” he said. “And so now people realize, ‘OK, there really is a meaningful probability every 20 years or so with lots of world travel that one of these [viruses] will come along.’ And so the citizens expect the government to make it a priority.”
He said he was confident that lessons learned from this outbreak will encourage people to better prepare for next time, but lamented that the cost this time around was too high.