Melinda Gates said in an interview with BBC Radio this past week that she and her husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, had been storing food in their basements for years in anticipation of a pandemic or other disaster.
"A number of years ago, we had talked about, you know, what if there wasn't clean water? What if there wasn't enough food? Where might we go? What might we do as a family?" she said. "So I think we should leave those preparations to ourselves. But absolutely we had prepared and had, you know, some food in the basement in case."
Gates added that the only thing they did not prepare was the vaccine or a treatment for the virus that would cause a pandemic, though she acknowledged her and her family's privilege when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.
"What we mostly talk about now in our home every night is how lucky we are. We understand our privilege. And when we say our grace at night, what we're thankful for, around the table, is that we aren't struggling to put a meal on the table as so many families around the world are," she said.
Bill Gates has been warning about a pandemic for years. In a 2015 TED Talk, the Microsoft co-founder warned that the next big threat to the world would likely be a highly infectious virus rather than a war.
Last month, Gates said that the United States missed its chance to avoid mandated shutdowns because it didn’t act fast enough on the coronavirus pandemic.
“The US is past this opportunity to control (COVID-19) without shutdown. We did not act fast enough to have an ability to avoid the shutdown,” he claimed at the time.
“It’s January when everybody should’ve been on notice,” Gates added. The virus was first discovered in December in China.
This past Wednesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it would provide $150 million in funding to help deploy additional medical supplies and to help scientists discover treatments and a vaccine for the virus, according to Bloomberg.
The foundation has donated a total of $250 million to aid global coronavirus response efforts.