David Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine:
Every year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation releases a Goalkeepers report, tracking the world’s progress toward the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. The news is almost always pretty good. This year’s edition is … not like that. “Almost every time we have opened our mouths or put pen to paper,” the Gateses write in the report’s introduction, “we have celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease. But we have to confront the current reality with candor: This progress has now stopped.” Their annual report tracks global progress on 18 different metrics. “In recent years, the world has improved on every single one. This year, on the vast majority, we’ve regressed.”
For a nonmedical civilian, Bill Gates has occupied an unusually central role in the story of the coronavirus pandemic almost since it arose. Gates, who spent much of the past decade warning the world about the risks of a respiratory pandemic, found himself funding a flu study this spring that was among the first documenting community spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. He has devoted much of the foundation’s resources to infectious disease and global immunization programs over the years and now has funded a lot of expedited research into possible coronavirus vaccines and treatments — indeed, he helped pre-fund the manufacturing of seven candidate vaccines, long before knowing whether they would work.