You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Bill Gates Warns That a Coronavirus-like Outbreak Will Probably Happen 'Every 20 Years or So' Billionaire Bill Gates has been warning about the risk of a pandemic disease for years, stating that a global health crisis like coronavirus could wipe out 30 million people in less than a year.

By Rosie Perper

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

Screenshot/Financial Times via BI
Bill Gates spoke to the Financial Times via a video chat on April 2.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said that this coronavirus pandemic was the "biggest event that people will experience in their entire lives," and warned that a viral outbreak will likely happen "every 20 years or so."

Gates discussed the global fight against the novel coronavirus with the Financial Times via Skype on April 2. FT posted the interview and transcript online on April 8.

He said world leaders and global policymakers have "paid many trillions of dollars more than we might have had to if we'd been properly ready."

Related: 9 Billionaires, Including Bill Gates, Who Are Stepping Up During the Pandemic

"This is the biggest event that people will experience in their entire lives," Gates told FT.

He said that in response to this outbreak, future governments will have "standby diagnostics, deep antiviral libraries, and early warning systems."

"The cost of doing all those things well is very small compared to what we're going through here," he said. "And so now people realize, 'OK, there really is a meaningful probability every 20 years or so with lots of world travel that one of these [viruses] will come along.' And so the citizens expect the government to make it a priority."

He said he was confident that lessons learned from this outbreak will encourage people to better prepare for next time, but lamented that the cost this time around was too high.

"It shouldn't have required a many trillions of dollars loss to get there," he said. "The science is there. Countries will step forward."

The 67-year-old billionaire has been warning about the risk of a pandemic disease for years, stating that a global health crisis like coronavirus could wipe out 30 million people in less than a year.

In 2015, Gates gave a TED Talk warning that the world was "not ready" for an impending pandemic.

"There's no need to panic ... but we need to get going," he said in 2015.

Related: The 5-Hour Rule Used by Bill Gates, Jack Ma and Elon Musk

In February, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $100 million last month to fight the coronavirus outbreak, designating money toward vaccine research, frontline responders, prevention measures and treatment efforts around the world.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Data & Recovery

Better Communicate Data with Your Team for $20 with Microsoft Visio

Visio features a wide range of diagramming tools that can support projects across all industries.

Growing a Business

How To Leverage Social Media to Optimize PR Success and Increase Your Brand Awareness

Entrepreneurs can establish authority and trust in their industries through the strategic use of social media, leveraging platforms for podcast appearances, guest posts, and consistent, quality content that aligns with their brand's mission.

Science & Technology

AI Will Radically Transform the Workplace — Here's How HR Teams Can Prepare for It

HR intrapreneurs are emerging as key drivers of AI reskilling, thoughtful organizational restructuring and ethical integration, shaping an inclusive future where technology enhances both efficiency and employee development.

Business News

Some Costco Stores Are Now Selling a Frozen Item That Looks Just Like a Trader Joe's Fan Favorite

The Frozen Kimbap is a Trader Joe's cult favorite, and now a version can be found at Costco, too.