SEATTLE — 2020 was the year that "global health went local."
That's the way Bill and Melinda Gates are framing life during the pandemic in their annual letter published to the world on Wednesday.
In the letter, the founders of the Gates Foundation urged wealthy nations to share their their COVID-19 vaccine doses and research, praised scientists, and call the pandemic a "defining event" for our generation.
"Just as World War II was the defining event for our parents' generation, the coronavirus pandemic we are living through right now will define ours," the couple wrote.
To date, the Gates Foundation has invested $1.75 billion in the fight against COVID-19. Most of that funding has gone toward producing and procuring medical supplies.
"For example," they wrote, "we backed researchers developing new COVID‐19 treatments including monoclonal antibodies, and we worked with partners to ensure that these drugs are formulated in a way that's easy to transport and use in the poorest parts of the world so they benefit people everywhere."
Just before the annual letter was published, the world surpassed a grim milestone of 100 million global COVID-19 cases of COVID-19.
"Everything depends on whether the world comes together to ensure that the lifesaving science developed in 2020 saves as many lives as possible in 2021," the pair wrote.