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Bill Gates speaking at the 8th International Conference on Agriculture Statistics in India in 2019. Photo: Indraneel Chowdhury/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bill Gates said in a "TED Connects" interview Tuesday the coronavirus will "delay the urgent innovation agenda that exists over in climate,” but not irrevocably.

Driving the news: "I have freed up a lot of time to work on climate," the billionaire philanthropist said. "I have to say for the last few months that’s now shifted and until we get out of this crisis, COVID-19 will dominate and some of the climate stuff, although it will still go on, it won’t get that same focus.”

But, but, but: He added that once the current crisis passes, "I don’t think this has to be a huge setback for climate."

  • Instead, Gates said there are also useful lessons for climate that can be drawn from the pandemic crisis, which has emphasized the need to listen to scientists who can often see when there's a "disaster looming."

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of how the coronavirus is sapping attention from other priorities in the near-term, while the long-term effect on global warming policy is harder to game out.

The big picture: Climate just had a brief role in the wider interview with Gates, whose philanthropy does a lot of health-related work. CNBC has more here.

Go deeper ... Bill Gates: Coronavirus is "a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen" we've feared

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

The Robinhood M&A rumor mill churns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Robinhood's valuation is now just over $11 billion, a fraction of where it traded in August and below that of its last private round of funding. Cue the M&A mongers.

Why it matters: It's not just Robinhood—falling values of growth-oriented tech stocks have raised speculation that formerly high-flying fintechs could be snapped up by more well-capitalized buyers.

4 hours ago - Health

Student's death renews calls for schools to stock opioid overdose drug

Photo: Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Connecticut student's death has renewed calls for schools to stock and administer naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Why it matters: U.S. drug overdose fatalities reached six figures in a 12-month period for the first time in November, and synthetic or natural opioids were the cause of a majority of the overdoses.

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