Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates said he is hopeful that the critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic will end in 2022.
"It might be foolish to make another prediction, but I think the acute phase of the pandemic will come to a close some time in 2022," Gates wrote in a review of the year, published on his GatesNotes blog.
The billionaire said that the end of the pandemic isn't as close as he had hoped because of the Delta variant and struggles with getting people fully vaccinated.
And while "there's no question that the Omicron variant is concerning", he said, the speed of detecting new variants, combined with developments in vaccines and antiviral drugs, led him to be hopeful that COVID-19 would become an endemic disease in 2022.
"The world is better prepared to tackle potentially bad variants than at any other point in the pandemic so far," he said. "We're in a much better position to create updated vaccines if they're needed," he added.