Bill Gates is taking the action that many people are perhaps dreading themselves — canceling most of his holiday plans in the wake of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 variant Omicron.
The Microsoft co-founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tweeted his outlook Tuesday morning, saying that “just when it seemed like life would return to normal, we could be entering the worst part of the pandemic.”
It’s a dire read on the ongoing health crisis from someone who has been sharing his fears and hopes about it all since early 2020.
Just two weeks ago, in a year-end post on his blog, Gates wrote about how 2021 was “the most unusual and difficult year of his life.” But he said that despite underestimating how tough it would be to convince people to take the vaccines, he was hopeful that the end of the pandemic is in sight and the acute phase will come to a close some time in 2022.
The rapid surge of Omicron has clearly impacted Gates’ optimism.
In a seven-tweet thread, he said Omicron “is spreading faster than any virus in history” and that it “will be the worst surge we have seen so far because it’s so infectious.”
In search of some shred of good news, Gates said the rapid spread could mean that a wave of Omicron in a country could last less than three months, and while those months could be bad, “if we take the right steps, the pandemic can be over in 2022.”
Just a few days before Christmas, as travelers head for long-sought family gatherings, U.S. health experts have warned that Omicron will spread rapidly, even among the fully vaccinated.
“Our hospitals, if things look like they’re looking now, are going to be very stressed,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.
Gates concluded his tweet thread by acknowledging the frustration of another holiday under the stress of COVID-19.
But again, he offered his usual touch of hope.