The former software tycoon has called for funding for the WHO's Global Health Emergency Corps
Preventing another pandemic like Covid-19 requires setting up a planetary response network of "firefighters," led by the World Health Organization, billionaire Bill Gates has argued. He added that recognized experts and national public health officials should lead this effort.
"We need to prepare to fight disease outbreaks just as we prepare to fight fires," Gates wrote in a New York Times opinion piece published on Sunday. This means "a well-funded system that is ready to spring into action at a moment's notice when danger emerges."
He endorsed the WHO's effort to create a network of "top health emergency leaders," called the Global Health Emergency Corps. This "corps of professionals from every country and region" needs to be well-funded and able to deploy in response to "transnational threats," Gates wrote.
Such an organization was proposed in his 2022 book, 'How to Prevent the Next Pandemic', though Gates called it Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization (GERM) and specified its size and funding at 3,000 people and an additional $1 billion in the WHO budget.
"To be successful, the Emergency Corps must build on existing networks of experts and be led by people like the heads of national public health agencies and their leads for epidemic response," Gates insisted, even though the existing public health establishment was responsible for the Covid-19 response he himself described as inadequate.
According to Gates, the 2020 pandemic was a "collective failure to prepare for pandemics despite many warnings." His own foundation hosted a pandemic preparedness exercise in October 2019, dubbed 'Event 201' and revolving around a novel coronavirus going global. Johns Hopkins University, which co-hosted the event, was later compelled to clarify that the exercise had nothing to do with the actual coronavirus pandemic.
"The world must take action now to make sure Covid-19 becomes the last pandemic, and one of the biggest moves we can make is to support the world's principal health experts - the WHO - and invest in the Global Health Emergency Corps so it can live up to its full potential," Gates argued in the Times.
The Microsoft co-founder has invested his software fortune into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spending millions on promoting vaccination campaigns and pandemic preparedness. Gates has also spent millions to acquire agricultural land in the US, and to push for green energy and alternate food sources. In an interview last month, he criticized SpaceX mogul Elon Musk for funding a space program to colonize Mars, saying the money would be better spent on vaccines.
His wife Melinda filed for divorce in 2021, citing a number of things that have piled up over the years, including Bill's ties to accused pedophile sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. They continue to manage the foundation together, however.