BILL Gates predicts global Covid-19 restrictions could last until 2022, and the first four to six months of next year could be “the worst so far.”
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Mr Gates shocked listeners saying “the next four to six months could be the worst of the epidemic.”
He went on to explain forecasts predict over 200,000 additional deaths.
The billionaire said if the public were to follow the rules and wear face masks, use sanitiser and avoid mixing with other households, “we could avoid a large percentage of those deaths. So in the near term, it’s bad news.”
Mr Gates expressed his support for the controversial coronavirus restrictions – including California Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest stay-at-home order affecting more than 75 percent of the state.
He said: “Well certainly mask-wearing has essentially no downsides.”
“Bars and restaurants in most of the country will be closed as we go into this wave, and I think sadly that’s appropriate.”
He said the next four to six months “really call on us to do our best, because we can see that this will end and you don’t want somebody that you love to be the last to die from coronavirus.”
Mr Gates said he was disappointed at America’s handling of the pandemic as cases and the death toll continued to mount.
He said: “This virus could be more fatal than it is. We didn’t get the worst-case.”
“But the thing that has surprised me is that the economic impact in the US and around the world has been much greater than the forecasts that I made five years ago.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced a $250million pledge to fight the pandemic, on top of the $1billion it had already committed.
Mr Gates said the funding would be focused on creating vaccines for use around the world – not just the US.
He said blocking international sharing and cooperation has been “disruptive and a mistake” during the pandemic, criticising Donald Trump’s “America first” approach towards vaccination.
He also addressed the online conspiracy theories that his foundation was working with Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH, to inject microchips into people through the coronavirus vaccine.
He said: “Dr Fauci and I believe in vaccines. Vaccines have saved millions of lives. That is what our foundation is all about and so our expertise was valuable here in getting the scale up of those things.”
He went on: “You’ve got to be willing to speak out publicly, even if it’s not always well understood. “
“I do worry will this make people not want to take the vaccine or not believe, you know, in polio eradication or other causes that I think are valuable.”
Mr Gates said he intends to join several other American leaders – including President-elect Joe Biden and former Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton – in taking the vaccine publicly in an effort to help convince others that it’s safe.
He said: “When my turn comes up, I will visibly take the vaccine because I think that it’s a benefit to all people to not be transmitting.”
As of Sunday, the US has 16,068,348 reported Covid-19 cases and about 298,000 Americans have died, according to John Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering Covid-19 dashboard.
Worldwide, about 1.6million people have died and the number of cases has exceeded 71million.
Pfizer Covid vaccine is sent out on 13th December as US nears 300,000 pandemic deaths in chilling toll