Billionaire Bill Gates said Sunday that the world could be completely back to normal by the end of 2022 thanks in large part to the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, though the virus will not be totally eradicated by then.
"We won't have eradicated this disease but we'll be able to bring it down to very small numbers by the end of 2022," Gates said in an interview on Sky News.
What's helping is the speed at which the vaccine is being deployed, according to the Microsoft co-founder.
Gates said that wealthier nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom "will get to high vaccination levels" by this summer, which will "free up" more doses to developing countries.
Gates said he believes that the vaccines will be deployed to the entire world in late 2021 and throughout 2022.
"Well, over the balance of the year, the U.S., the U.K. and others will be able to make sure that the vaccines are now going to the developing countries," he said.
Gates noted that places "where you want to get everyone over 60 vaccinated" like South Africa and Brazil "will become a priority just in the next three or four months."
Gates has long stressed the importance of distributing vaccines to the entire world and has pledged tens of millions of dollars over the past year to help in the effort through his nonprofit, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"We have new drugs and more potential vaccines than we could have expected at the start of the year," Gates said in a statement in December. "But these innovations will only save lives if they get out into the world."
The foundation has already committed over $1.7 billion to the global COVID-19 response, including supporting the delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, particularly to developing countries.
Gates' wife, Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Gates Foundation, also said in December that they "are confident that the world will get better in 2021," but it will require the action of global leaders.