Episode 1: Introducing The Working Dinner

In the first episode of The Working Dinner series, three experts working in respiratory diseases, immunology, vaccine discovery, and vaccine development join Bill for a meal and a conversation two years after their last in-person meeting about lessons learned from COVID-19 that might help us prevent the next pandemic. See below for a short excerpt of their conversation, which has been slightly revised for clarity.

The key issue for me [in February 2020] was what would the role of the foundation be?
Keith Klugman
Director, Pneumonia
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill Gates: I remember Keith in particular saying [in February 2020], "Hey, it's going to spread." And nobody said, "Oh Keith, you're just panicking." Everybody agreed.

Keith Klugman: Well, it was quite extraordinary, because WHO hadn't declared the pandemic yet. They did it a month later. So we'd been living with a month of spread in China.

Anita Zaidi: This is a really tricky thing in calling it a pandemic or epidemic, right? You don't know beforehand how bad it's going to be. And so if you end up crying wolf, then everybody says, "Why did you create this panic?" And if you don't, then this is the result we’re seeing.


Meet the dinner guests

More from The Working Dinner

Bill Gates, Anita Zaidi, Keith Klugman, and Lynda Stuart meet over a working dinner
The Working Dinner video series

The Gates Foundation invites you to join our co-chairs and global health experts in a series of working dinners. Watch as they share in both a meal and reflections on COVID-19 learnings that might help us prevent the next pandemic.

Keith Klugman, Melinda French Gates, and Anita Zaidi meet over dinner with guests Catherine Nyambura and Dr. Githinji Gitahi joining virtually on a television monitor
The Working Dinner: Episode 2

In the second episode of The Working Dinner video series, Melinda French Gates sits down for a candid conversation with health and gender equality experts. Watch as they discuss the inequities that the pandemic uncovered.

Anita Zaidi and Keith Klugman meet with guests Samba Sow and Folake Olayinka for The Working Dinner
The Working Dinner: Episode 3

From flattening the curve to riding the waves, variants have shaped the entire pandemic and will shape our future. How can the world better prepare?