A single virus can disrupt the world - this has been proven by the Covid-19 in the last year alone.
While a global pandemic of this scale was unprecedented, business magnate, philanthropist, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had warned the world about the pandemic back in 2015.
The Microsoft chief recently chatted up with Derek Muller, who runs the popular YouTube channel “Veritasium", over a video call and said he doesn’t feel any good about his prophecy.
In a 2015 Ted talk titled “The next outbreak? We’re not ready," Bill Gates talked about the outbreak of potential virus-like that of COVID-19 and stressed on the need for the world to be well-equipped to tackle the situation. “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said and adding, “Not missiles, but microbes."
The video gained traction in March 2020 when the pandemic brought the world to a halt.
But that wasn’t the only instance. In 2017, Gates took to Reddit to field questions from fans, and said: “I am concerned about biological tools that could be used by a bioterrorist.”
That same year, the billionaire told The Telegraph it would be “relatively easy” to engineer a new flu strain. Unlike a nuclear war though, the disease wouldn’t stop killing once it was released.
“All these advances in biology have made it far easier for a terrorist to recreate smallpox, which is a highly fatal pathogen, where there is essentially no immunity remaining at this point,” he had then said. “So the greatest risk is from a natural epidemic or an intentionally caused infection bioterrorism events.”
He said a “fast-moving airborne” disease could kill 30 million people in less than a year. The current death toll due to Covid-19 is 2.3 million.
Gates also wrote in his blog Gates Notes that by 2060, climate change could be just as deadly as the pandemic, and by 2100, it could be five times as deadly.
“In the next decade or two, the economic damage caused by climate change will likely be as bad as having a COVID-sized pandemic every ten years,” he said.
“And by the end of the century, it will be much worse if the world remains on its current emissions path.” He ended with a cautionary note, on how we saw the pandemic coming, and still didn’t prepare: “Health advocates said for years that a pandemic was virtually inevitable. The world did not do enough to prepare, and now we are trying to make up for lost time. This is a cautionary tale for climate change, and it points us toward a better approach."