Now that millions of people are beginning to question all the 'FUD' surrounding the omicron variant, Bill Gates, the world's de facto vaccine czar during the early days of the outbreak (before his professional reputation was sullied by the scandal surrounding his divorce from Melinda Gates) is re-emerging to try again to convince as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
The Microsoft co-founder said 2021 didn't bring as much improvement in the COVID situation as he had hoped. With more COVID deaths this year than in 2020, the delta variant and challenges with vaccine uptake, progress has been underwhelming, Gates wrote in a "year in review" post on his blog Tuesday.
Scientists have been saying for months that COVID will likely remain endemic in the human population, but that hasn't stopped some governments from ratcheting up restrictions and requirements regarding masking and vaccinations.
And the blame, of course, lies with the millions of people who have shunned COVID vaccines, Gates' favorite target for criticism.
"I underestimated how tough it would be to convince people to take the vaccine and continue to use masks," Gates wrote.
To be sure, he also had some optimistic things to say. For example, Gates wrote that he expects the "acute phase" of the pandemic to finally come to an end in 2022 as the number of confirmed cases in the US nears 50MM.
Gates added that there's "no question" the omicron variant is "concerning"...except for the growing chorus of skepticism, and an initial batch of data out of South Africa suggesting the variant is more mild than delta.
"There’s no question that the Omicron variant is concerning," Gates said.
"But here’s what we do know: The world is better prepared to tackle potentially bad variants than at any other point in the pandemic so far."
Gates estimated that while it’s currently approximately 10 times more lethal than the flu, vaccines and antivirals could reduce that by 50%.
"Communities will still see occasional outbreaks, but new drugs will be available that could take care of most cases and hospitals will be able to handle the rest."
Of course, this neatly segues to Gates's next topic: virus-related "disinformation" while blaming the government for not acting as more effective censors of platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
He also lamented “the ability of governments to get big things done” and called for more strict regulating of social media companies (which are also rivals of his old firm, Microsoft).
If Gates is so concerned about misinformation, he should probably start by looking at his own statements - like when he admitted last month that vaccines don't suppress "transmission" of the virus.
Finally, Gates acknowledged his still-fresh divorce, writing that it has been "a year of personal sadness" for one of the world's richest men.
“I can’t deny that it’s been a year of great personal sadness for me. Adapting to change is never easy, no matter what it is. I’ve been impressed by how resilient my loved ones - especially my kids - have been in this challenging time,” Gates said.
Maybe next time Gates can tell us more about his reasoning for supporting the protection of vaccine related-IP, which the WTO is doing on behalf of Big Pharma and the Gates Foundation.