Watch CNBC's full interview with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on past pandemic warnings



CNBC’s Becky Quick interviews Bill Gates, the co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft. Gates breaks down his past warnings about the potential dangers of a global pandemic, about China getting back to business, and how the United States might emerge from widespread coronavirus lockdowns.

It might not be until fall 2021 that Americans “can be completely safe” from COVID-19, Bill Gates said in a Tuesday interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS Newshour.

That’s because it will take more than a year before a vaccine can be developed and deployed, according to researchers working to develop a treatment for COVID-19.

“The vaccine is critical, because, until you have that, things aren’t really going to be normal,” the billionaire philanthropist told Woodruff. “They can open up to some degree, but the risk of a rebound will be there until we have very broad vaccination.”

Social distancing is helping to lower the number of COVID-19 cases. The goal, Gates explained, is to get that number down to a point where “contact tracing” (a process in which those within close contact with an infected person are closely monitored) can be done, in order to maintain necessary quarantines.

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