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By Bill Murphy Jr.
Five years ago this week -- March 18, 2015, to be exact -- Bill Gates was on a mission.
Right about now, Gates is looking awfully prescient. Because on that single day:
➧Gates posted a blog on his GatesNotes website: "We're Not Ready for the Next Epidemic."
➧He ran an op-ed in the New York Times: "How to Fight the Next Epidemic"
➧He published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (.pdf link): "Gates B. The next epidemic -- lessons from Ebola."
➧And he went across the border from Seattle to Vancouver to give a TED talk. Title: "The next outbreak? We're not ready."
In every message that day, Gates hit the same theme, over and over: We will likely face a big viral epidemic, and we are not ready for it. For example, here's how he started his TED talk:
"When I was a kid, the disaster we worried about most was a nuclear war.
Today ... If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it's most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes.
Now, part of the reason for this is that we've invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents. But we've actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We're not ready for the next epidemic."
Gates isn't a doctor. But he's perhaps the most successful philanthropist in the world and has donated billions of dollars for public health (including $100 million for coronavirus research starting in January, long before most Americans or the U.S. government took it seriously.) Read more >>