One year back, while speaking at a conference hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society, Bill Gates had “predicted” that a super-virus pandemic breaking out in China could potentially kill 33 million people around the globe in a span of just 6 months.
Gates had warned that the world was at risk from super-pathogens spreading quickly across the globe and that we should take urgent preventive steps on a military footing.
The world was not “making much progress” in this area.
“And that’s pandemic preparedness.”
“In the case of biological threats, that sense of urgency is lacking. The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war,” said Gates.
During the conference, Gates had unveiled an exhaustive study by the Institute for Disease Modelling which laid bare just how quickly a new disease could potentially spread. He also showed a time lapse video explaining how a potential outbreak in China could rapidly spread across the globe, killing 33 million people in its wake.
One year later, the prediction appears to have come true. The coronavirus has emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan and it is on a global march. The numbers of affected nations are almost doubling overnight.
According to officials, confirmed cases of the coronavirus have doubled to more than 800 in China alone.
Countries including, China, US, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore, all have confirmed cases of the infection.
The World Health Organisation has so far refused to declare it as a global public health emergency, saying it was “too early”. WHO officials say the committee was split almost 50-50.
So far four major Chinese cities have been quarantined and there is evidence to support human to human transmission.
Wuhan alone is home to 11 million Chinese people. Its neighbors include Huanggang, Ezhou and Lichuan.
According to preliminary research, the coronavirus was passed on to humans from snakes at Wuhan’s seafood market.
“Almost three-quarters of confirmed cases were in people aged over 40, with four in ten having underlying health conditions”, said Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme.
Experts have warned that the coronavirus could prove as deadly as the Spanish flu, which incidentally killed 50million people.