Bill Gates may have predicted that a pandemic like the coronavirus was coming back in 2018. Now the Microsoft (MSFT) founder reveals his thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis.

In a TED Connects series, Gates told curator Chris Anderson what needs to be done to “flatten the curve.” He also reflected on the role of the president, saying a clear message is necessary.

“This is not going to be easy. We need a clear message about that,” he said.

Gates also talked about the effectiveness of self-isolation at the state level. He said, “In the Chinese case, it was like six weeks, so we have to prepare ourselves for that and do it very well.

“If you’re doing isolation well, within about 20 days you’ll see those numbers really change, …and that is a sign that you’re on your way.”

Gates has been committed to fighting the coronavirus pandemic, making donations from his Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to the frontline and hard-hit areas.

“It is really tragic that the economic effects of this are very dramatic,” Gates said. “Nothing like this has ever happened to the economy in our lifetimes.

“But money, you know bringing the economy back and doing money, that’s more of a reversible thing than bringing people back to life. And so we’re going to take the pain in the economic dimension — huge pain — in order to minimize the pain in the disease and death dimension.”

According to John Hopkins University, more than 490,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, with over 22,000 deaths reported. In the U.S., the university said that there has been over 69,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 1,000 deaths.

Shares of Microsoft stock were up 4.60% as of 12:04 p.m. EDT on Thursday.

1. Bill Gates ($54-billion)
Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, is consistently ranked among the world's richest people. In recent years he has devoted himself to philanthropic endeavors, charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, REUTERS