The billionaire philanthropist said that our World and the US in particular are falling short in pandemic preparedness.
The world is rapidly heading towards globalization with advancements in technology and with the given pace, it is also susceptible to pandemics. This is what Bill Gates believes, and he is of the opinion that with the increasing mobility, there’s a significant probability of a new flu epidemic against which our society is unprepared.
Speaking at a discussion about epidemics organized by Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine, the billionaire philanthropist said that the world and the U.S., in particular, is falling behind in “pandemic preparedness”. He spoke about the possibility of new flu that could kill more than 30 million people in just six months.
Gates said that he’s super-optimist and believes that life keeps getting better for most people in the world through new immunization and interventions that are helping in eradicating diseases like polio and malaria. However, “there’s one area though where the world isn’t making much progress,” Gates said, “and that’s pandemic preparedness.”
He pointed out the risk of future pandemics taking the example of an outbreak of Swine Flu in 2009 and the Ebola epidemic, where the U.S. and world were too slow to respond. With the ease of developing biological weapons of mass destruction, Gates fears that the world is at a risk of a bioterror attack.
Gates showed a simulation developed by the Institute of Disease Modelling which predicted that the new flu similar to the one in the 1918 pandemic that wiped out 50 million people, could kill nearly 33 million people worldwide in just six months.