The pandemic is predicted to last for approximately 18 months until a vaccine is developed. According to Gates, this crisis may only last six to 10 weeks in some countries.
The founder of Microsoft took to Reddit to share his thoughts in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Wednesday (March 18).
“We do need to stay calm, even though this is an unprecedented situation,” Gates answered in response to a question about what people can do to help during the crisis.
“A big thing is to go along with the ’shut down’ approach in your community so that the infection rate drops dramatically to let us go back to normal as soon as possible.”
A question was brought up regarding the report from Imperial College London that claimed that if the virus is uncontrolled, it may kill more than 2 million people in America by itself. The study also claimed that social distancing could last for approximately 18 months until a vaccine is generated. However, Gates stated that “fortunately, it appears that the parameters used in that model were too negative.”
“The experience in China is the most critical data we have,” he added.
“They did their ’shut down’ and were able to reduce the number of cases. They are testing widely, so they see rebounds immediately, and so far, there have not been a lot. They avoided widespread infection.”
“The Imperial model does not match this experience. Models are only as good as the assumptions put into them,” he explained.
“People are working on models that match what we are seeing more closely, and they will become a key tool.”
The Institute For Disease Modeling is a group that is working on a more accurate model and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates predicted that if a particular country does a “good job” of conducting COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing and practices shutdowns and social distancing plans, then “within 6–10 weeks (the country) should see very few cases and be able to open back up.”
“I worry about all the economic damage,” Mr. Gates shared. He also said that wealthy countries are presently being affected staggeringly and cannot recover economically until the virus is brought under control.
“Even worse will be how this will affect the developing countries who cannot do the social distancing the same way as rich countries and whose hospital capacity is much lower.”