Virus no worse than flu by mid-2022 Bill Gates said.
He thinks COVID death and infection rates may fall below flu by mid-2022-assuming no new variants.
By the end of this week, there will have been more than 255 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 5.1 million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
He said vaccine supply issues “will be largely solved” by the middle of next year. Pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer have both developed oral treatments and “we’ve been able to reformulate the Merck drug so it will cost less than $US8 ($11)“.
This means that if someone with underlying conditions or who is otherwise vulnerable catches COVID-19, they will be able to begin “presumptive treatment” as soon as they test positive.
“So between natural immunity, vaccine immunity and these oral treatments that can scale up in a way that the antibodies never did, the death rate and the disease rate, by next summer, ought to be coming down to lower than the average flu season.” At that point, economic activity should be able to resume “in full”.
This assumes there is no new variant of the virus that makes either vaccines or treatment less effective. While this cannot be ruled out, “the evidence suggests it’s not likely,” Bill Gates said.
COVID deaths and infection rates may dip below seasonal flu levels by the middle of next year assuming new dangerous variants don’t emerge in the meantime, Bill Gates said.
Between natural and vaccine immunity and emerging oral treatments, “the death rate and the disease rate ought to be coming down pretty dramatically,” Bill Gates said.
The constraints on vaccinating the world against COVID-19 will shift next year, Gates said, as supply issues are resolved and replaced by questions of how to logistically distribute them all.
“The vaccines are very good news, and the supply constraints will be largely solved as we get out in the middle of next year, and so we’ll be limited by the logistics and the demand,” Gates said.
Gates says it’s not clear in a lot of countries what the demand level will be, especially in places like sub-Saharan Africa.
He added the world ought to work to eradicate the flu as well in order to reduce threats from future pandemics.
Every country has to upgrade its diagnostic ability so it is “10 times faster than Australia’s” was at the start of the pandemic – “which was one of the best,” Bill Gates said.
“Over the next year we will keep reminding people that this has cost trillions and killed millions,” Bill Gates said.