“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles but microbes. We have invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents, but we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic.”
Those are the words of billionaire Microsoft mastermind Bill Gates.
He said them during a TEDTalk in 2015, titled: The next outbreak? We’re not ready.
Five years later he was proven 100 per cent right, and now we’re paying the price with global deaths over 100,000 and rising.
WATCH: A snippet of Bill’s 2015 TEDTalk. Post continues after video.
During his 10-minute talk, Gates looked at Ebola as an example to explain his reasoning labelling the West African Ebola virus our “wake-up call”.
The epidemic, which lasted from 2014-2016, killed 11,300 people, and Gates said the reason the disease didn’t spread globally was due to pure luck (that it didn’t reach urbanised areas), the fact that it wasn’t airborne, and because of the hard work of health workers.
“Next time we might not be so lucky,” he said.
“You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they’re infectious… where they get on a plane or go to a market. The source of the virus could be a natural epidemic like Ebola or it could be bioterrorism. So there are things that would literally make things a thousand times worse,” he said in the 2015 video.