Bill Gates cancels holiday plans due to omicron, believes pandemic will end in 2022

The Microsoft co-founder says the first part of the new year could be bad, but believes an omicron wave could last less than three months.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read

Bill Gates tweeted a series of thoughts on the state of the pandemic.

Gates Notes

Bill Gates usually shares his thoughts on his GatesNotes blog, but on Tuesday, Gates  wrote a multi-post Twitter thread sharing his opinions on the current state of the pandemic. The Microsoft co-founder mixed the personal and the professional, revealing that friends have come down with the omicron variant, and his own holiday is looking very different.

"Just when it seemed like life would return to normal, we could be entering the worst part of the pandemic," Gates wrote. "Omicron will hit home for all of us. Close friends of mine now have it, and I've canceled most of my holiday plans."

Gates reiterated what many experts have said, that there are many unknowns about the omicron variant. 

"Even if it's only half as severe as Delta, it will be the worst surge we have seen so far because it's so infectious," he wrote.

He encouraged readers to continue to wear masks, avoid big indoor gatherings, and get vaccinated and boosted. And while vaccinated people can and will get breakthrough cases, the shots will protect them against the worst of the disease.

"Vaccines are designed to prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying and are doing that well," he wrote.

Yet Gates still has hope for a brighter future by spring.

The first few months of 2022 "could be bad," he wrote, but because the variant moves quickly, a wave could last less than three months.

"Those few months could be bad, but I still believe if we take the right steps, the pandemic can be over in 2022," he wrote, adding in another tweet that "it won't be like this forever."

Earlier this month, Gates wrote on his blog that 2021 was the hardest year of his life, citing his divorce from Melinda French Gates, the loneliness of the pandemic, and his transition into empty-nester dad.