Bill Gates sat down with WSJ Editor in Chief Matt Murray for a virtual chat during the paper's CEO Council, part of the paper's nascent push into conferences and events.
This, of course, is just the latest installment in Bill Gates' campaign to convince western governments to essentially "step up" and finance a global mandatory vaccination campaign, something that would cost trillions of dollars, given the 7 billion-plus people in the world.
And he doesn't hold back: Gates acknowledged that Western countries are "far ahead" of Russia and China when it comes to developing and testing various vaccine candidates - though China seems to draw nearer by the day - and if the leading candidates prove successful and win their FDA emergency approvals before year-end, the west could see life return to 'some semblance of normal' by the second half of next year.
"By late next year you can have things going back pretty close to normal - that's the best case," Gates said. "We still don't know whether these vaccines will succeed," Gates said. "Now the capacity will take time to ramp up. And so the allocation within the US, and between the U.S. and other countries will be a very top point of contention."
Of course, Gates's timeline is even longer than that unfurled by the Trump Administration and its top officials who have said a mass-produced vaccine could be ready by the beginning of Q2, suggesting vaccination campaigns could be well underway by the start of next summer.
All this remains to be seen, however.
Western companies are "far ahead" of their foreign competitors, and Gates predicted that Chinese and Russian vaccines likely wouldn't be widely used in the West. Though, to be fair, Russia and China are already striking deals with countries to partner and produce doses as countries like India scramble to get their hands on a vaccine as quickly as possible.
"The one Russian construct and six of the Chinese constructs are perfectly valid constructs actually with some similarities to what the Western companies are doing, but the Western companies are further ahead on doing these phase three studies," Gates said.
As he typically does, Gates took a minute to plug CEPI, the coalition for epidemic preparedness and innovations.
The conversation soon turned to another one of Bill Gates's favorite topics: the obligation of social media companies to combat "misinformation", like the idea that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a lab.
There's a difference between claims that are deliberately "false and misleading" and the theory that the virus was either released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a Biosafety Level 4 lab located a short distance from the market initially touted as 'ground zero' for the virus. US intelligence has lent some credence to the theory. So has a Chinese scientist who escaped to the West with claims that she has 'proof' that the virus was created in a lab.
Though her claims were given airing by Tucker Carlson, Twitter suspended her account in an attempt to silence her, just like Beijing tried to do.
Circling back to Gates, he argued that social media companies should be responsible for "some level of fact checking", though he advised that he didn't want to see widespread censorship, like in China.
"There’s certainly a human weakness that very titillating things can spread very quickly and the digital platforms allow them," Gates said.
"We’re seeing in a very urgent way the question of how do you restrict that weakness and still preserve free speech."
Put another way, social media companies should censor things that Gates wants censored, and leaving everything else pretty much alone.
Watch the full interview below: