Bill Gates is a billionaire philanthropist outta Seattle Washington. Not too long ago, during his Shattuck Lecture in Boston, he predicted that 33 million people will die in 6-months if the 1918 Flu happened today.
Gates began his speech by highlighting the wonderful progress we have collectively made in establishing good health around the globe. Also, he mentioned the vital tools being used to reduce child mortality and tackle infectious diseases. But there’s one grey area, where he feels, we need to improve in.
“There’s one area where the world isn’t making much progress, and that’s pandemic preparedness. This should concern us all because if history has taught us anything, it’s that there will be another deadly global pandemic.”
Even though Gates can’t predict when a modern-day pandemic will occur, he assumes it will because of the bioterrorism that’s occurring around us.
He admits that poorer countries’ health infrastructure isn’t good, but ours’ isn’t that good either. That alarming concern caused him to speak frankly about our infrastructure crumbling if there’s another outbreak of a major infectious disease/microorganisms.
“Several things in the last decade have made me pay closer attention to the risk of future pandemics. One was the outbreak of Swine Flu in 2009. While H1N1 wasn’t as lethal as people initially feared, it showed our inability to track the spread of disease and develop new tools for public health emergencies.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa four years ago was another wake-up call. As confirmed cases climbed, the death toll mounted, and local health systems collapsed. Again, the world was much too slow to respond.”
Bill Gates – Global Flu Pandemic
The animated simulation video highlights how quickly the 1918 Flu virus spread across the United States. Also, how it took five weeks and killed 675,000 people.
“The death toll was so great that average life expectancy in the U.S. for that period dropped by 12 years. Worldwide, the 1918 flu killed an estimated 50 million people, perhaps more.”
Gates described his fears. also, he suggests some things that he feels the world needs: A coordinated global approach, better tools, an early detection system, and a global response system.
If these things are not implemented in our defense strategy, then bioterrorism will continue to rise because biological weapons of mass destruction are becoming easier to create.
Gates showed another animated simulation video by the Institute for Disease Modeling. This time, he revealed what would happen if a highly contagious and lethal airborne pathogen like the 1918 Flu were to occur today.
“Nearly 33 million people worldwide would die in just six months.
The world needs to prepare for pandemics the way the military prepares for war.”
Gates, a super optimist, understand that the US needs to lead the way in this modern-day global fight against bioterrorism and microorganisms.
BILL GATES’ REASONING POINTS
The global community eradicated smallpox, a disease that killed an estimated 300 million people in the 20th century alone.
We are on the verge of eradicating polio, a disease that 30 years ago was endemic in 125 countries. It paralyzed or killed 350,000 people a year.
Today, nearly 21 million people are receiving life-saving HIV treatment, thanks primarily to the support of the world community.
In conclusion, Defense wins championships. And we need to prepare if we are to win this modern-day war against the Flu and other diseases. Therefore, Gates is right. We need to create a comprehensive pandemic preparedness and response system because millions of lives depend on it.