Bill Gates predicts the next 4 to 6 months 'could be the worst of the epidemic'

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Bill Gates predicts the next 4 to 6 months 'could be the worst of the epidemic'
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  • During an interview for CNN's "State of the Union," Bill Gates told host Jake Tapper that "it's bad news" for the months to come in regard to the pandemic.
  • Gates has donated over $100 million to coronavirus-vaccine research.
  • The US administered its first doses of the vaccine to healthcare workers in New York City on Monday, but widespread vaccination will take time — and Gates said it was important for people to follow guidelines in the meantime to control the virus' spread.

While the coronavirus vaccine is finally being administered, Bill Gates says the worst is still to come as the US enters the winter months before widespread vaccination is completed.

"The next four to six months could be the worst of the epidemic," Gates said during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

Gates' outlook echoes what public-health experts have been saying for months now, as this winter surge of cases is likely to be the deadliest yet.

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"If we would follow the rules in terms of wearing masks and not mixing, we could avoid a large percentage of these deaths," Gates added. "In the near term, it's bad news."

Gates has long been sounding the alarm about a pandemic, including in a 2017 op-ed for Business Insider in which he wrote that "a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year." (For reference, the global death toll for COVID-19 is 1.9 million.)

The Microsoft cofounder has been active in helping get a vaccine out to the public and donated $100 million via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation toward vaccine development and therapeutic treatments.

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Read more: Meet the 19 key scientists, executives, and leaders responsible for pushing coronavirus vaccines across the finish line

He has also said he will get the vaccine publicly to help boost confidence in the treatment.

Gates said the presidential transition in the US was "complicating" the rollout of the vaccine but that he was "pleased with the people and the priority that the President-elect Biden and his team are bringing to bear on this problem."

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So far, the vaccine has been met with mixed results from Americans, with only 21% of 10,093 US adults in a Pew Research Center poll saying they would "definitely" get the shot.

The first shipments of the vaccine were delivered and administered to healthcare workers in New York on Monday - see photos of the historic event here.

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