• In a Financial Times interview, Bill Gates warned that an outbreak on the scale of the coronavirus pandemic might occur “every 20 years or so.”
  • For years, Bill Gates has warned the world of an impending severe pandemic.
  • In a 2015 TED Talk, Gates said that “we’re not ready for the next epidemic.” In 2017, Gates wrote in an op-ed article for Business Insider that the next epidemic could be “a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”
  • Gates has called the coronavirus a “once-in-a-century pathogen,” and his charitable organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has committed $100 million to fight the outbreak.
  • As of Wednesday, there were more than 874,000 coronavirus cases in at least 180 countries and territories.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In an interview with Financial Times, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates called the coronavirus pandemic “the biggest event” most people will experience in their lifetimes. Gates also warned that a viral outbreak on this scale could occur “every 20 years or so.”

Foto: In the years leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, Gates had warned of an impending pandemic for years.

Source: Financial Times

In March, Gates announced in a LinkedIn post that he would step down from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway to spend more time overseeing philanthropic ventures, with a continued focus on global health and development.

Foto: Gates hasn’t worked full time at Microsoft since 2008. Source: Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

Source: Business Insider, LinkedIn

For years, Gates has talked extensively about the potentially catastrophic nature of a pandemic.

Foto: Bill Gates. Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

In a 2015 TED Talk, Gates said the world was unprepared for the next epidemic. He highlighted the stellar efforts of health workers in 2014 to contain the Ebola outbreak. “There’s no need to panic … but we need to get going,” he said.

Foto: A health worker injecting a man with an Ebola vaccine in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Source: Reuters

Source: TED

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Gates repeated the sentiment in a 2017 op-ed article for Business Insider, reiterating that “we are not prepared.” He said that he viewed the threat of a pandemic as being on the same level as climate change and nuclear war and that the next epidemic could be “a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”

Foto: A flu vaccine. Source: Karoly Arvai/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

In 2018, Gates said that the next pandemic was imminent and that he believed it would arise and spread within the next decade. “In the case of biological threats, that sense of urgency is lacking,” he said. “The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war.”

Foto: Bill Gates in 2018. Source: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Source: Business Insider

Gates called the coronavirus a “once-in-a-century pathogen” in an op-ed article for the New England Journal of Medicine. He also outlined steps the world could take to contain its spread, including the speedy development and delivery of vaccines.

Foto: A person reaching for hand sanitizer. Source: Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider, New England Journal of Medicine

Gates also suggested an international database that countries could use to share information.

Foto: A law enforcement officer at a drive-through testing station in Denver on Saturday. Source: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Source: Business Insider, New England Journal of Medicine

In early February, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to donate $100 million to fight the outbreak, including funding for frontline responders, prevention efforts, and treatment. A big chunk is reserved for vaccine development.

Foto: Bill and Melinda Gates head up the Gates Foundation. Source: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, Gates Foundation

In March, the Gates Foundation joined Wellcome and Mastercard in, together, pledging up to $125 million toward a COVID-19 Therapeutic Accelerator to speed up the response by enhancing treatment. The foundation put in up to $50 million, earmarked from its initial coronavirus pledge, toward this venture.

Foto: A patient in a biocontainment unit at a hospital in Rome on Monday. Source: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Source: Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation also funded a project to develop at-home coronavirus detection for people in the Seattle area.

Foto: Nurses at a testing station in Seattle on Friday. Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Source: Seattle Times, Business Insider, Business Insider

Chinese President Xi Jinping has thanked Gates for his “generous support.”

Foto: Chinese President Xi Jinping. Source: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty

Source: Bloomberg

In February, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett called Gates his “scientific adviser” and said Gates was focused on finding a long-term solution to the threats posed by the coronavirus.

Foto: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. Source: Reuters/Rick Wilking

Source: CNBC

Fortune’s Eamon Barrett wrote in February that the money committed by billionaires like Bill Gates and Alibaba CEO Jack Ma for fighting the coronavirus outbreak might not necessarily go to the people who need it the most.

Foto: Alibaba CEO Jack Ma. Source: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

Barrett said the money might go to organizations sanctioned by the Chinese government to deal with the crisis, not necessarily aid workers on the ground in Wuhan — where the outbreak originated — who have complained about a lack of resources.

Foto: Hospital staff members in Wuhan, China, in January. Source: AP Photo/Dake Kang

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

As of Wednesday, the US had reported over 180,000 confirmed cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended rigorously handwashing and social-distancing measures.

Foto: A worker in scrubs leaves the Life Care Center of Kirkland, a long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases, in Kirkland, Washington, in March. Source: Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

Source: CDC, Business Insider

Bill and Melinda Gates own a mansion in Medina, Washington, that was valued at well over $100 million in 2018. The mansion has seven bedrooms and sprawls across 66,000 square feet — not a bad place for social distancing.

Foto: “Xanadu 2.0,” Gates’ mansion in Medina. Source: Bing Maps

Source: Business Insider