The first truck transporting Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine pulled out of a Michigan manufacturing plant on Sunday and is expected to reach its destination on Monday so that health workers can administer the vaccine. Despite the overall optimism in the COVID-19 vaccine on its way to the American people, Bill Gates warns that the coronavirus pandemic is not even close to being over.
Gates is impressed with the progress of a coronavirus vaccine thus far.
"This vaccine work is phenomenal," Gates said last week at Singapore's FinTech Festival that was held virtually. "You know, we've been working with these pharma companies, they've been doing their best, you know, thank goodness, those vaccines will bring this pandemic to an end."
Gates noted that there could be six COVID-19 vaccines ready by spring of 2021, and he expects them to be approved by summer 2021.
However, despite his optimism in the coronavirus vaccine, Gates said that the world would not return to normal for more than a year.
"There will be… By the summer of 2021, the rich countries will have more vaccine coverage than other countries. So, the rich countries will be going mostly back to normal," Gates told the Hindustan Times on Friday. "But I still think because the virus will be in the world, we still will be somewhat conservative about large public events, we will still have some mask-wearing."
"We really need to get this virus eliminated, almost everywhere or else we have seen even in countries that have done a super good job -- like Australia or Singapore or Hong Kong or South Korea – they always run a risk of reinfection," Gates continued. "So they've had to restrict tourism and other travel, but by summer that will start to open up."
Gates declared, "They won't be totally back to normal but sometime in the first half of 2022, I do think we will be able to say that we're back to normal."
On Sunday, the Microsoft CEO seemed to prescribe a coronavirus restriction that would inflict widespread ruin on the country's bars and restaurants.
"Bars and restaurants in most of the country will be closed as we go into this wave," Gates told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union." "And I think, sadly, that's appropriate."
"Depending on how severe it is, the decision about schools is much more complicated, because, there, the benefits are pretty high, the amount of transmission is not the same as in restaurants and bars," he continued.
"So, trade-offs will have to be made. But this -- 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," Gates added.
.@BillGates on Covid: "Even through 2022” we should be prepared for life to not return to “normal” Says “sadly"… https://t.co/TQOOfi51cK— Tom Elliott (@Tom Elliott) 1607885948.0
Coronavirus lockdowns have already decimated the restaurant industry. 110,000 restaurants have permanently closed in 2020, approximately 17% of all of America's restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Gates hinted at a financially crippling edict despite New York state's contract tracing data of 46,000 confirmed coronavirus cases between September and November finding that only 1.4% of COVID-19 infections were attributed to bars and restaurants.
New York, Pennsylvania, and Los Angeles have instituted debilitating restrictions on restaurants in the past week.