Philanthropist Bill Gates says the development of a COVID-19 vaccine will bring the country “way closer” to a sense of “normal” life by the summer of 2021.
However, he notes that unless there is a high vaccination rate in the U.S., there will be a risk of “re-introduction” of the virus.
During an appearance on CNN on Sunday, Gates was asked when the country will be able to return to “normal.” Host Jake Tapper specifically mentioned not having to wear masks or practice social distancing, or “other protective measures.”
“Certainly, by the summer we’ll be way closer to normal than we are now,” Gates said, adding, “But, even through early 2022 — unless we help other countries get rid of this disease and we get high vaccination rates in our country — the risk of re-introduction will be there. And of course, the global economy will be slowed down, which hurts America economically in a pretty dramatic way.”
“So we’ll have, starting in the summer, about nine months where a few things like big public gatherings will still be restricted. But, you know, we can see now that somewhere between 12-18 months, we have a chance if we manage it well to get back to normal.”
.@BillGates on Covid: "Even through 2022” we should be prepared for life to not return to “normal”
Says “sadly" it’s "appropriate” for bars and restaurants to close over the next "four to six months" pic.twitter.com/cmDD8pv3XR
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 13, 2020
Gates’ comments come as the first doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine were shipped out to locations in all 50 states — providing a sense that the end of the pandemic could be on the horizon.
In the meantime, Gates was asked if he believes more states should implement shutdown orders to help stop the spread of the virus.
He responded by urging Americans to wear masks, but he said, “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 also said it is “much more complicated” to decide whether schools should be closed to help curb the spread of the virus.
Finally, Gates 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 you love to be the last to die of coronavirus.”
His comments come as the country is seeing an average of 208,097 new cases per day, which is up 28% from two weeks ago.
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