Bioterrorism, climate change are next big threats after Covid

Bill Gates at Munich Security Conference on February 17, 2017 in Munich, Germany.

Michael Gottschalk | Getty

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates warned for years that a deadly pandemic could take place. Now, he’s calling out the threats of bioterrorism and climate change.

Gates appeared on Derek Muller’s YouTube channel Veritasium last week, where he was asked about what’s the next issue facing humanity.

“One is climate change. Every year that would be a death toll even greater than the one we would have in this pandemic,” the Microsoft co-founder said. “Also, related to pandemics is something people don’t like to talk about much, which is bioterrorism, that somebody who wants to cause damage could engineer a virus. So that means the chance of running into this is more than just the naturally caused epidemics like the current one.”

Years before the coronavirus battered the globe, Gates warned that governments weren’t prepared for a pandemic.

“The world as a whole doesn’t have the preparedness for epidemics, and we’ve had a few flu scares that got us to do some minor things, but not enough,” he said in a 2014 interview. “If this thing had been twice as transmissive, we’d be in a lot of trouble, and there are agents that have a real chance of coming on in the next several decades that are far more transmissive than this is. What’s to stop some form of SARS showing up?”

In a 2015 TED Talk titled “The next outbreak? We’re not ready,” Gates said an infectious virus was a greater risk to humanity than nuclear war.

In his interview with Muller, Gates said there will be more pandemics. However, going forward, governments could increase their preparedness to try to reduce the death tolls.

More than 107.44 million coronavirus cases were recorded across the globe as of Thursday morning, with at least 2.35 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

“The number of deaths with the right system should be a 10th of what we see here,” Gates said.

Watch the full interview here.

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