Bill Gates, 59, sat down with Ezra Klein, the Editor-in-Chief at Vox, and discussed his fear for humanity.
It’s not a third World War or an asteroid — it’s an epidemic similar to the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 that killed somewhere between 30 and 50 million people across the globe.Healthcare has vastly improved since the mid 1910s, but so has transportation, making it easier for viruses to cross borders and continents.
“I rate the chance of a nuclear war within my lifetime as being fairly low,” says Gates. “I rate the chance of a widespread epidemic, far worse than Ebola, in my lifetime, as well over 50 percent.”
Gates estimates the number of deaths could go as high as 33 million. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly the population of Canada. He says the U.S. government needs to start investing money immediately in research and medical surveillance to prevent an epidemic that he says will happen in his lifetime.
Gates isn’t the only person giving warnings about a pending epidemic. According to the The Independent, researchers at Cambridge University in the U.K. say the bird flu could be as deadly as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.