It’s been shared over 21,000 times on Facebook – and flagged as potentially false. (Disclosure: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of Africa Check’s funders, providing 18% of our income in 2018.)
But Gates doesn’t necessarily “think” this. Instead, he was discussing a computer simulation that projected a pandemic like the 1918 flu outbreak could today kill about 33 million people in six months.
Gates was presenting at the Epidemics Going Viral: Innovation vs Nature seminar hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and New England Journal of Medicine on 27 April 2018.
He warned that although the world had made progress in fighting child mortality and infectious diseases, “there is one area where the world isn’t making much progress: pandemic preparedness”.
"The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war," he said.
Simulation projects 30 million deaths in flu pandemic
The simulation was by the Institute for Disease Modeling.
It “shows what would happen if a highly contagious and lethal airborne pathogen, like the 1918 influenza, were to appear today”, Gates said. “Nearly 33 million people world-wide would die in just 6 months.”
He directed the audience to maps titled “Simulation of a modern-day global influenza pandemic”. It projects there would be 28,600 deaths in the first month, 10,120,300 deaths after three months and, after six months, 32,918,500 deaths worldwide.
An animation of the simulation can be viewed on the New England Journal of Medicine website and on YouTube. – Africa Check
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