- TELEGRAPH - Sep 15, 2020-
By Paul Nuki, GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY EDITOR, LONDON
Philanthropist warns deaths may spike again this winter but the worst will be over by 2022 if a vaccine can be distributed globally
The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is “pessimistic” about the coming months and warned Covid-19 deaths could rise again to the levels seen in the first wave of the pandemic unless governments take effective action.
“I'm pessimistic about what the fall in the northern hemisphere is likely to look like,” he said. “If we don't have interventions, the death rate in a number of countries including the United States will go back up to the levels that we had in the spring."
Talking to The Telegraph for the launch of the annual Goalkeepers report, which tracks the world’s progress against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Mr Gates said the pandemic could push the world back to the 1990s in terms of development.
A wide range of indicators, ranging from maternal and infant mortality to hunger and education, have already moved into reverse after decades of progress and will end up costing many more lives than the coronavirus itself.
“We’ve been set back about 25 years,” he said. “I would expect substantially more deaths from the indirect effects than from the direct effects [of the virus]."
In the introduction to the Goalkeepers report, Mr Gates and his wife Melinda draw parallels with the 1918 Spanish Flu which sparked “a set of mutually exacerbating catastrophes”.