06:43 GMT25 October 2020
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    Earlier this month, Bill Gates suggested that wealthy countries would return to normal life by the end of 2021, should the vaccines currently being developed by western countries work and be deployed in a timely manner.

    Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has predicted that "the fall is going to be worse than the summer" in the US in terms of the fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    In an interview with Politico earlier this week, the billionaire said that "all the numbers are ticking up, and that was always a very good chance that as people go indoors and it's colder, that we would see more transmission".

    He insisted that until America starts actively distributing antibodies and the coronavirus vaccine, "all we have is our behaviour", an apparent reference to wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing.

    "Unfortunately, we've got a lot of fatigue and a lot of bad messages about these things. US mask compliance is actually pretty poor", the founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation underscored.

    The Microsoft co-founder's current forecast comes about a week after he told NBC News that the US will see "lots of additional" coronavirus-related deaths if the nation does not "get our act together" amid the ongoing pandemic.

    Gates blasted the Trump administration's COVID-19 response as "the worst" programme in the world, due to prolonged waiting times for testing results and "in terms of who gets access to it".

    In early April, Gates warned that the US would enter a "nightmare scenario" in the COVID-19 pandemic if the government and citizens do not comply with social distancing and self-isolation guidelines.

    At that time, the US general infection tally was about 336,000 cases, while the death toll was slightly over 9,600, a far cry from how the situation with the coronavirus is developing at the moment.

    As of Thursday, the US had registered over 7.9 million COVID-19 infection cases, along with at least 217,717 deaths, according to the latest data collated by Johns Hopkins University.


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