In a Squawk Box podcast released today, host Becky Quick speaks with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on the road ahead once the exponential coronavirus curve begins to flatten.
Gates, who has been studying deadly pandemics for years, warned in 2015 during the Ebola outbreak,
“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…
You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they’re infectious that they get on a plane or they go to a market.”
Now the billionaire philanthropist, who calls the Covid-19 coronavirus “the nightmare we’ve all been talking about” and whose foundation is allocating $100 million to fight the disease, is trying to identify the moment in time when life can return to normal – or the new normal.
“Until we can say to people that we’re tracking this thing so well that actually going out to your job, to a car factory, to a construction site – that those are safe enough – until we get there, which we’re absolutely not, no one should think the government can wave a wand and all of the sudden the economy is anything like it was before this happened…
All the countries that have substantial epidemics now have to think, ‘Ok, once you get down the absolute level, before having a vaccine, what kind of activities should we reengage in?’
Probably manufacturing. We can do probably construction, we can do – hopefully because of the number of young people involved – we can do education.
But we’re going to have this intermediate period of opening up,