It seems like the whole world has been put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak. A lot of us did not see this coming, but Bill Gates can't say the same.
A video clip has been circling around the internet from a Ted Talk that Gates gave in 2015 titled "The next outbreak? We're not ready."
"When I was a kid, the disaster we worried about most was a nuclear war," he said in the presentation. "Today, the greatest risk of global catastrophe doesn't look like this:"
"Instead, it looks like this:"
He went on to talk about how a highly infectious virus is way more likely to kill millions of people than a war. A big reason for that, he said, is because "we've actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic."
In the years following Gates' presentation, investments toward epidemic response systems didn't really improve. Actually, things got a lot worse. In the past two years, a ton of funding toward disease security programs was slashed in the United States.
Thankfully, a national emergency has been declared over the coronavirus outbreak, which — according to President Trump — will result in an extra $50 billion in funding for response efforts.
When it comes to Gates' prediction about the amount of deaths the virus could cause, there's obviously no way to know right now if that's accurate. But by practicing social distancing and good hygiene, we're doing the best we can to ensure the safety of ourselves and everyone around us.