Millions more will die during COVID-19 pandemic, 90% of deaths unrelated to coronavirus: Bill Gates
Millions more will die before the COVID-19 pandemic is over, said Bill Gates. But, these deaths will not be a result of the disease itself, but due to the excessive burden on healthcare systems and economies worldwide, he added.
The Microsoft co-founder predicts that a "reasonably" effective vaccine will be in mass production by the end of 2021 and the majority of the world population would be immunized thereby halting the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Elaborating on his statement, Gates said that more than 90 percent of the deaths would be unrelated to coronavirus.
"Lockdowns will restrict people's access to medicine for other diseases. Subsequently, deaths from malaria and HIV will increase," he said.
The Bill Gates foundation contributed more than $350 million to the pandemic response, but that will not suffice, more is needed, Gates said in an interview to The Economist.
"Billions must be spent to produce COVID-19 vaccine to stop the economic damage, which is costing trillions," he said.
According to him, unreliable data makes it difficult to assess the precise extent of the damage in many poor countries.
"By August 17, Africa has recorded more than 25,000 COVID-19 deaths and in India, nearly 52,000 have died from the disease. However, the actual number in both places is much higher," Gates added.
Explaining about research conducted on the novel coronavirus infection, Gates said that the study suggests the other coronaviruses in circulation have granted a measure of protection against COVID-19.
"Novel coronavirus is not as contagious as some other diseases. Around 30-60 percent of the world’s population needs to be vaccinated to contain the pandemic," he said, adding "Fortunately this isn't measles, we don't need over 90 percent of people to take the vaccine."