Bill Gates believes schools will be able to open in the fall, he told Becky Quick on CNBC.
"I think the school will be able to continue in the fall," Gates said. "But I don't think this school year will have a significant attendance. You know, maybe in the summer, people will do something special. But that would be very difficult to do. "
Governments around the world have ordered people to stay home, and elected officials in Arizona, California, Michigan, Washington and other states have closed schools for the rest of the academic year.
Some schools have allowed students to attend distance learning through it Internet, but Gates noted that many Students they do not have them computers or internet connections that are necessary for distance learning.
"Most private schools are accustomed to online courses and have made sure that all their students have the device and connectivity," he added. "Different school districts have decided not to do it online course because it would be unfair to children who do not have access. And so it's really a dilemma. There are several philanthropists like Ray Dalio, Jeff Bezos and many others trying to bridge this gap - you know, to give some devices and connectivity to Internet. "
In general, the United States could "open" in late May, Gates said. Before a vaccine is available, he said, countries with significant epidemics need to figure out what activities need to be restored. He suggested that people could probably return to the construction industry and hopefully to education.
"I don't think big sporting events are going to be possible in the near future as there are a lot of risks," he said.
Gates noted that businesses in China they will reopen immediately and the country will be one of the first to face the consequences of the corona.
"Governments should follow the advice of experts and create a new regime for what is happening - it is extremely sensitive that the economy needs to be rehabilitated, but with priority given to tests," Gates said.
He also said the economy would not magically return to pre-pandemic levels, even when governments decide that it is safe for people to return to work.
"People's behavior about going on a trip to an event or a restaurant will change completely because of worries about the corona," he said. "No one should believe that governments will shake their magic wand and that every country's economy will return to what it was before the pandemic. This means that there will be a healing miracle that will have a cure rate of over 95%, or extensive use of the vaccine. “
A vaccine can be developed in 18 months
Last month, Gates resigned from Microsoft's board of directors, which he founded 45 years ago, wanting to focus on his health work at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has pledged up to $ 100 million to respond to the coronavirus, has backed a corona test that people can perform at home on their own and said it will help pay for factories that can produce vaccines.
During the interview, Gates suggested therapeutic treatments for sick people that could begin to develop in four to six months, but would take at least 18 months to develop a safe and effective vaccine.
“There is an approach called the RNA vaccine that they use Companies such as Moderna, CureVac and others, which in 2015 we found as very promising for pandemics and other applications as well. And so, if all goes well with the RNA approach, we could really beat 18 months. “
However, he noted that vaccines are not very good, especially for elderly patients.
"We do not want to create unrealistic expectations. The effectiveness of vaccines in the elderly is always a huge challenge. You know, it turns out that the flu vaccine is not as effective in the elderly. Most of the benefit comes from younger people who do not spread the virus because they are being vaccinated. “
He also dismissed the idea that there are many asymptomatic cases of coronavirus that spread the disease, which would make the COVID-19 mortality rate much lower than previously reported. "It's very unlikely that there will be many asymptomatic cases that never happen by chance and infect people," he said.
As for countries that have done extensive tests, such as Germany and China, Gates says the mortality rate is about 1% or 1,2%.