Speech Summary: We can make COVID-19 the last pandemic — Bill Gates
“In the year 6 CE, a fire devasted Rome. In response, Emperor Augustus creates a permanent team of firefighters that had never been done before in the history of the Empire. Augustus understood that individuals can’t save themselves from fire, they need help from the community. When one’s house is on fire, it creates a risk to everyone else’s homes”.(Bill Gates: We can make COVID-19 the last pandemic: 2022)
“What we’ve had these last few years is like a global horrific fire. Covid, it’s hard to overstate how awful it’s been. It increased the health inequities between the rich and the poor. Survival depended partly on your income, your race, and the neighborhood you lived in. So we should seize the opportunity to create a world where everyone has the chance to live a healthy and productive life. Also a life free from the fear of the next Covid-19.”
Bill Gates believes that we need to create what he calls the GERM team. “GERM stands for Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization. It is made up of a diverse set of specialists with different realms of expertise: epidemiologists, data scientists, logistics experts”, and people with strong communication and diplomacy skills. “Their only priority is pandemic prevention. They’d be present in many locations around the world. The most important thing is that they take quick responses, like firefighters. There could be a period when there is no risky outbreak and they can keep their skill sharp by working on some of the other infectious diseases.”
“Building such a health system won’t be cheap, the cost to prevent the next pandemic will be tens of billions of dollars. But compared to what we just went through. The International Monetary Fund estimated that COVID had cost nearly 14 trillion dollars. So we need to spend billions in order to save trillions.” The best part is that we are saving lives and money at the same time.
“If we take the right steps, we could shrink the gap, the equity gap, which is gigantic, between rich and poor countries. We can make the COVID-19 the last pandemic, and we can build a healthier, more equitable world for everyone.”