Bill Gates will build seven factories to mass-produce promising vaccines for the coronavirus. Knowing that probably at most two of the seven substances currently tested will prove effective he will probably be losing billions of Dollars of his own money. This is very very good news. If any of these substances prove effective, we will already have facilities to produce at scale. Compared to a world where we only start building factories once we know which vaccine will be effective, this saves weeks or months and potentially thousands of lives. Many people on Twitter are uncomfortable with Bill Gates, instead of the government, doing that. They argue that individuals should not wield this much power and that they should instead be taxed. I think they are wrong in criticizing Gates and billionaire philantropy. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation alone does much more than the majority of all states together to fight diseases and poverty and uses the money they have much to that end more effectively than states do on average. For an in-depth discussion, this is a very good moment to read the SlateStarCodex post on Against Against Billionaire Philantropy and also the highlights of comments to that post.
Also: see the complete interview where he made his announcement on the Daily Show.