Gates warns that return to normalcy after pandemic may take 2022

Risk of contagious mutations mainly because vaccines so far go to "rich countries", he said.

Gates warns that return to normalcy after pandemic may take 2022

Of Jonathan Ponciano

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has hailed the rapid development of vaccines as a "miracle" that could help Americans return to a "normal" lifestyle from normal, following US approval of a third candidate for the coronavirus vaccine. . However, he warned that politicians around the world were not doing enough to ensure a full return to normalcy before the end of next year.

Speaking to CNN reporter Farid Zakaria on Sunday, Gates, 65, noted that Americans should return to some kind of normalcy in the fall, with "almost all students returning to class" and restaurants opening at a certain level. and start sporting events again.

"The big problem is that we are not doing enough to end the pandemic worldwide," Gates warned, adding that vaccines so far "only go to rich countries", which runs the risk of developing contagious mutations abroad. to "invade" the United States again.

That risk - combined with a potential wave of re-infections - means a full return to normalcy "could take 2022 unless we do a better job," Gates said.

The operation of additional vaccine plants in countries such as India could help reduce the risk of infections abroad and return to normalcy more quickly, Gates suggested, noting that pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, NovaVax and Johnson are already moving towards the direction.

Speaking to CNN earlier Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the United States' leading infectious disease specialist, said the country now had three "really good vaccines" that Americans "should not hesitate to take" - a recommendation that Gates reiterated all five vaccines approved for distribution in the Western world.

"Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seemed a little lower than expected at first," Gates said Sunday, referring to fewer diagnostic tests for coronavirus cases. "It is unfortunate that there has been some sort of 'management denial' of vaccine distribution, and now it is more difficult to get it back on track, but supply and distribution will no longer be restricted in the United States. "In about three months from now," he added.

Cases of patients who have been re-infected with the coronavirus have been confirmed since the virus began to be transmitted in late 2019, however it is still unclear how widespread re-infections are, and they are certainly more harmful in countries where vaccinations have not yet begun. 

The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford - one of only two vaccines not yet approved in the United States - began distribution in Ghana last week, but only a few developing countries have made good progress. their vaccination. Coronavirus deaths, meanwhile, topped 2,5 million worldwide on Thursday.

At the same time, a study conducted in January by researchers from the US National Bureau of Economic Research found that global economic production could be hit by 3 trillion. if vaccines fail to reach emerging countries quickly enough, with advanced economies like the US at risk of being hit halfway through.

As for Gates, he is the fourth richest man on the planet, with an estimated fortune of $ 123,2 billion, according to Forbes.