Bill Gates says 'we'll be digging our way out' of Covid for decades and fears another pandemic within 20 years

Tech pioneer Bill Gates fears "it's very unlikely" the world will go 20 more years "without another outbreak that has a chance of becoming another global pandemic"

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Bill Gates, whose new book, How to Prevent The Next Pandemic, has just been published, said the world will be “digging our way out” of the Covid pandemic “for decades to come”.

The philanthropist also warned: “It’s very unlikely that we’ll go 20 more years without another outbreak that has a chance of becoming a global pandemic.”

It came as he said an Elon Musk-owned Twitter “could be worse” and that meeting the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was a mistake.

The tech pioneer said there is no need for his fellow billionaire, who has tweeted insults about him, “to be nice to me”.

Bill Gates with Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Bill Gates with Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Mr Gates has been succeeded by Mr Musk as the world’s richest person.

In response to Mr Musk’s claims that he has bet against Tesla stock, Mr Gates said it had “nothing to do with climate change”.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: “The popularity of electric cars will lead to more competition for selling those cars, so there’s a difference between electric cars being adopted, and companies becoming infinitely valuable."

Mr Gates also said his divorce from Melinda French Gates would not affect the running of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charitable foundation.

The pair announced they were ending their 27-year marriage last year.

Ms French Gates has previously said she knew the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein was “evil” and questioned why her ex-husband had meetings with him.

Mr Gates said: “I made a mistake ever meeting with Jeffrey Epstein, you know, maybe her instincts on that were keener than mine.

“Any meeting I had with him could be viewed as almost condoning his evil behaviour, so that was a mistake.”

Mr Gates also said he would not follow fellow billionaires Mr Musk, Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson into space and urged others to donate their wealth to charity.

“That’s not my dream. My dream is first to get polio eradicated and then dive right back in and go after malaria,” he said.

“I’m going to encourage others who have been wildly successful like I’ve been to give back the right causes, I think philanthropy can achieve a lot.”