New York: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believes that a "lot of things" will be back to "normal" by the summer of 2021 if COVID-19 vaccine approvals don't turn up any nasty surprises.
"Very likely by the summer, a lot of things will be back to normal... If vaccine approvals come along quickly," Gates said in a television interview on Thursday night.
Two vaccines, one each from Pfizer and Moderna, have already turned up more than 90 per cent efficacy results and are moving fast towards applying for emergency use approval.
The first vaccinations are tipped to begin in the US late December.
"We will be able to go back to offices and open up those restaurants and bars and say okay, we are in a completely different stage than right now," Gates said about his summer of 2021 vision.
He thinks a 2021 school year that is "completely normal" is within reach.
"We can get the whole country, every city back in school. I think that's achievable and a very important goal to have in mind," Gates told CNN.
He spoke in some detail about the "daunting" work of distributing the vaccines which are round the corner.
"The urgency and the numbers are pretty daunting. You know if you end up with all today's vaccines, we need over 10 billion doses to get to a high percentage of the world," Gates said.
Gates' remarks come at a time when the US is experiencing its worst coronavirus surge in months, with daily cases smashing records day after day. The US has the world's highest coronavirus caseload and death toll.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $350 million to support the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.