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Bill Gates believes 2021 will be better than 2020, but...

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Dec 31, 2020 10:01 pm

Multibillionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates, who has been actively involved in vaccine development for COVID-19 through his foundation, said 2021 may turn out to be a better year than 2020, though there are still caveats.

“Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods quite yet,” said Gates in his blog.

Gates, who is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, noted there are still clouds over the horizon.

“Computer models suggest that the pandemic could get even worse over the next month or so. We also need to learn more about a new variant of the virus that has appeared, which seems to spread faster but not to be more deadly,” he said.

I am glad to report that the optimistic view that the world would come together to fight COVID-19 has largely turned out to be right.

But Gates said there are two main reasons to be hopeful. 

“One is that masks, social distancing, and other interventions can slow the spread of the virus and save lives while vaccines are being rolled out,” said Gates.

“The other reason to be hopeful is that in the spring of 2021, the vaccines and treatments you’ve been reading about in the news will start reaching the scale where they’ll have a global impact,” Gates added.

The 65-year-old icon, who has made it his life mission to solve intractable social issues, said the number of companies developing a COVID-19 vaccine further gives cause for optimism in ending the pandemic.

“I don’t blame you if you have a hard time keeping track of all the companies working on vaccines. But it’s a nice problem to have!” said Gates. “With so many companies pursuing different approaches, there was a much better chance that some would prove to be safe and effective.”

Gates explained in his entry the differences of approach each company was taking to develop the vaccine. But though the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines are now being established, he noted the next steps of manufacturing billions of doses and distribution of these doses — with all the attendant logistical and financial issues — as the next daunting challenges the world needs to solve.

“I am glad to report that the optimistic view that the world would come together to fight COVID-19 has largely turned out to be right (with some notable exceptions). There’s no way we would be as far along as we are if governments, companies, and scientists around the world weren’t, more often than not, working closely together,” said Gates.

“This global cooperation is one reason why I see promise in the year ahead—and not only the promise of getting the pandemic under control. I believe the world also has a chance to take concrete steps on one of the other great challenges of our time: climate change.”