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OPINION | Bill and Melinda Gates: Covid-19 will forever change the way the world thinks about health | CNN

2021-01-27T13:07:42.879Z

But in 2020, a virus that didn't take borders or geography into account changed lives around the world, collapsing some of those distinctions between rich and poor countries. In doing so, he gave new meaning to the term "global health." | Opinion | CNN



Editor's Note:

The authors are co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This article is adapted from their 2021 Annual Letter. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors.

See more opinion at cnne.com/opinion.

(CNN Spanish) -

At this point last year the world was beginning to understand how serious a new coronavirus pandemic could be.

Just a few weeks after hearing the word 'covid-19' for the first time, we were closing our foundation offices and joining billions of people around the world in adapting to radically different ways of life.

For us, the days have become a blur of video meetings, surprising news alerts, and microwave meals, and we are well aware of how lucky we are compared to others.

Over the past year, Covid-19 has killed more than two million people around the world, sickened millions more, and pushed the global economy into a devastating recession.

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Bill Gates works from home during the 2020 quarantine.

The experience of living through a pandemic has led the United States to experience what many people in developing countries already knew too well: health is the foundation of any prosperous society.

If your health is compromised, or if you are worried about contracting a fatal disease, it is difficult to focus on anything else.

Staying alive and healthy becomes your priority at a necessary detriment to all other things.

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If you live in a rich country like the United States, chances are that last year was the first time an infectious disease changed your life.

This is because, in high-income countries, infectious diseases are no longer what epidemiologists would call "a significant health burden."

In low-income countries, however, infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis remain the leading causes of death, and sadly, it is nothing new to have to adapt life on behalf of a highly contagious pathogen.

(Ask the millions of people who sleep under a mosquito net or mosquito net every night.)

Melinda Gates working from home during the 2020 quarantine.

But in 2020, a virus that didn't take borders or geography into account changed lives around the world, collapsing some of those distinctions between rich and poor countries.

In doing so, he gave new meaning to the term "global health."

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This is how the coronavirus vaccine is applied in the world

In the past, "global health" was rarely used to refer to the health of everyone, everywhere.

Instead, "global health" was a term that people in rich countries used to refer to the health of people in non-rich countries, essentially a synonym for "health in developing countries."

If you attended a world health conference at any time in the last decade, you were far more likely to hear about disease in Uganda than about disease in America.

Ibu Suparti shows a tablet to other women at a community center in Dompyongan, Klaten, Indonesia, in 2017.

However, last year that changed.

In 2020, global health went local.

We all saw firsthand how quickly an illness we've never heard of, in a place we've probably never been, can turn into a public health emergency in our own backyard.

Viruses like covid-19 remind us that despite all our differences, everyone in this world is connected by a microscopic web of germs and particles, and that whether we like it or not, we are all in this together.

Although history probably remembers these as the darkest days of the pandemic, hope is finally on the horizon.

By the time you read this, you or someone you know may have already received the Covid-19 vaccine.

We believe that the fact that these vaccines are now available is quite remarkable, and all the credit goes to the largest public health effort ever seen in the world.

No country or company could have accomplished this alone: ​​investors from around the world pooled resources, competitors shared their research findings, and everyone involved had an advantage thanks to many years of global investment in technologies, which have helped open a new era in vaccine development.

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A business correspondent agent helps a woman with a bank transaction in Silana, India.

Of course, the development of safe and effective vaccines is only the beginning of the story.

Now the world has to distribute those doses to everyone who needs them, in both high-income and low-income countries.

Until vaccines reach everyone, new clusters of diseases will continue to emerge around the world and lives will continue to be lost.

That's why we're glad the United States included $ 4 billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in its latest covid-19 aid package.

Gavi will play a key role in delivering vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, and smart lawmakers understand that we cannot defeat COVID-19 until we defeat it everywhere.

We are both optimistic that the pandemic the world is experiencing right now will lead to a long-term change in the way people think about global health.

Moving forward, we hope that rich countries will understand more deeply that improving health in low-income countries not only saves lives abroad, but also puts us in a better position to overcome the next set of global challenges.

Just as World War II was the defining event for our parents' generation, the coronavirus pandemic we are experiencing right now will define ours.

And just as World War II led to greater cooperation between countries to protect peace and prioritize the common good, we believe the world has an important opportunity to turn the hard-learned lessons of this pandemic into a healthier and more equal future for everyone.

Bill Gates Melinda Gates

Source: cnnespanol

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