Bill Gates has been replaced as the world’s second-richest man by Elon Musk, and with no business to run anymore like Musk has with Tesla and SpaceX, or the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos who has Amazon, The Washington Post and his own space exploration company, one way Gates makes himself relevant is by being a self-appointed pandemic expert.
CNN reached out to Gates to find out what he feels is on the horizon in the fight against the coronavirus as the first vaccination deliveries are going out in the U.S. He said the next wave is going to be as hard on the already ravaged restaurant and bar industry as the last nine months have already been. “Bars and restaurants in most of the country will be closed as we go into this wave. And I think, sadly, that’s appropriate. Depending on how severe it is, the decision about schools is much more complicated, because, there, the benefits are pretty high, the amount of transmission is not the same as in restaurants and bars.”
Gates is in an interesting position from his post now as former CEO of Microsoft. When he moved away from Microsoft earlier in 2020 to focus on his philanthropic and climate change work, Microsoft stock was worth $153.83 per share. Microsoft is one of those companies that has seen its business grow and improve from the pandemic, thanks in part to the big demand for cloud-computing services and video-gaming, and now a single share of Microsoft stock is worth over $200. According to the New York Times, Gates remains one of the biggest shareholders of Microsoft, currently holding more than 100 million shares.
So, it’s at the very least interesting to hear his very pessimistic forecast for the U.S. and the entire world for the coming months, knowing how his personal wealth has ballooned because of the pandemic. “Certainly by the summer, we’ll be way closer to normal than we are now. But even through early 2022, unless we help other countries get rid of this disease, and we get high vaccination rates in our country, the risk of reintroduction will be there and, of course, the global economy will be slowed down, which hurts American economy in a pretty dramatic way. But we can see now that somewhere between 12 to 18 months, we have a chance, if we manage it well, to get back to normal.”
By the time the world gets “back to normal” in Gates’ words, there’s a good chance he will be $30 to $50 billion dollars richer.