Reflection on Bill Gates “The next outbreak? We’re not ready” Ted Talk

I agree with about every statement Bill Gates made in this video. I highly recommend everyone to take some time to watch this Ted Talk from 2015, of Bill Gates telling us that the world is not ready for the next viral outbreak that will occur. He happened to be right in his statement. In my own knowledge I know that pandemics have happened before today, and I know they will happen again. It should be about being ready for them. In our case today, the Coronavirus or COVID-19, we apparently were not.

Gates states

“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus than a war. Now a part of the reason for this is that we’ve invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents. But we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic.”

Now, of course protection from nuclear weapons is extremely important, and I bet if we did go into a nuclear war with North Korea we’d all be very grateful at the moment for our multi-billion dollar military and protection. I’m not saying the nuclear deterrents should be completely cut off. The White House should have had a pandemic response team ready to cut off the Coronavirus. According to a Time article, Presidents Trump’s administration cut the critical global health staffing. The President claims the team could’ve been cut for money purposes and could be restored very quickly since they had the money and could pay for it. There have been people in his administration saying that cutting the team in no way affected what’s happening now ( ). I’m not blaming Trump or his administration, just questioning what would’ve been if this team was still together before the outbreak happened? Could they have detected it and eased the spread even more? Who knows. This is also made more clear in Gates’ next statement:

“We didn’t have a group of epidemiologists ready to go, who would have gone, seen what the disease was, seen how far it had spread [In this case talking about Ebola]. The case reports came in on paper. It was very delayed before they were put online and they were extremely inaccurate. We didn’t have a medical team ready to go. We didn’t have a way of preparing people.”

This also seems to be the issue we’re facing today. “China alerted W.H.O. on several unusual cases of pneumonia on December 31st (Time).” Could a response team from the United States went over there to see what was going on and gotten better numbers and to research whatever was happening? This is something we don’t know but should still be prepared for in the future.

About 10,000 people died from Ebola that year as Gates says. Within the last three or four months, the cases of COVID-19 are above 870,000. Along with over 43,000 deaths. According to the Washington Post, the White House task force is estimating that 100,000 to 240,000 people will die, just in the United States! So we obviously can’t compare the Ebola outbreak to COVID-19, because what we are facing now is much more contagious and deadly.

One of the last things Gates says is to not panic. No need to “hoard cans of spaghetti or go down into the basement. But we need to get going, as time is not on our side.” This should serve as a warning. Although, I predict that once this pandemic is over, everyone will go right back into their old unsanitary habits. As Americans and especially New Yorkers, we consider ourselves immortal/immune to problems or threats unless they’re starting down right into our faces. Sometimes not even then do we fear it, but simply ignore it until it goes away.


One thought on “Reflection on Bill Gates “The next outbreak? We’re not ready” Ted Talk”

  1. Yes, Marty. We knew about this. We needed to have the federal government implement a plan. Much of this could have been avoided. The political ideology that government should not act in the interest of the country is dangerous and needs to be rejected.

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