Americans across the country are wondering how long the coronavirus pandemic will last? While the answer is unclear at this point, Bill Gates has given his best estimates to when people can expect to be “completely safe” from the virus.

Gates, who may have predicted the COVID-19 crisis, said that the U.S. was unprepared if a pandemic would strike in a 2018 presentation at an event hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine.

At the time, Gates said that “ This failure should concern us all, because history has taught us there will be another deadly global pandemic. We can’t predict when, but given the continual emergence of new pathogens, the increasing risk of a bioterror attack, and the ever-increasing connectedness of our world, there is a significant probability that a large and lethal modern-day pandemic will occur in our lifetime.”

Now Gates has estimated when he thinks Americans will be safe from the COVID-19 pandemic in an interview with PBS Newshour. Here, Gates said that he thinks that Americans might not be safe from the virus until fall 2021.

His reasoning is based on when a vaccine will be developed and deployed to the market, which could take more than a year, according to some researchers.

Gates, whose foundation has donated millions to developing a vaccine for COVID-19, explained, “The vaccine is critical, because, until you have that, things aren’t really going to be normal. They can open up to some degree, but the risk of a rebound will be there until we have very broad vaccination.”

Gates discussed what the new normal may look like in six months to a year, using China as an example. He said, “They are sending people back to work, but they’re wearing masks. They’re checking temperatures. They’re not doing large sporting events. And so they have been able to avoid a large rebound.”

He further explained further that larger public gatherings, such as sporting events or concerts, “may not resume until broad vaccination has taken place.”

Bill Gates Bill Gates adjusts his glasses. Photo: Reuters