Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, said at a conference in Singapore on Thursday that he believes the number of cases and those dying from COVID-19 will be dropping "pretty dramatically" as more people get vaccinated and new treatments become available.
The billionaire was interviewed during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum and said both death and infections could reach seasonal flu levels by the middle of 2022, unless there’s a new variant, according to Bloomberg.
Gates pointed to several reasons why he thinks the number of transmissions and deaths will drop. He said more and more people will develop natural immunity, there will be more vaccine distribution and new antiviral pills will become available.
Pfizer recently announced that its experimental antiviral pill cuts hospitalizations and death rates by nearly 90%. Pfizer said it would grant a license for the antiviral pill to the Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool, which would let generic drug companies produce the pill for use in 95 countries, making up about 53% of the world’s population.
Health officials said the fact that the deal was struck even before Pfizer’s pill has been authorized anywhere, could help to end the pandemic quicker.
"The vaccines are very good news, and the supply constraints will be largely solved as we get out in the middle of next year, and so we’ll be limited by the logistics and the demand," Gates said, according to the outlet.
The World Health Organization estimates that about 290,000 to 650,000 people die from the flu each year. Over five million people died from the virus since the outbreak began in late 2019.