Nearly six years before the current COVID-19 crisis that has claimed close to 1.5 million lives globally, philanthropist and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gave a TED talk, “The next outbreak? We’re not ready.”

The timing coincided with an Ebola outbreak in West Africa that had claimed more than 10,000 lives. Gates warned that pandemics were inevitable, the next one could be much worse, and while there was much to do to get ready, no country was very well prepared.

He then laid out a clear path toward improving preparedness, including both the cost of his steps and the economic returns this investment would reap by averting an even deeper crisis. The only missing piece was that Gates could not predict when the pandemic would arrive; no one could…

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