Bill Gates.

Sports fans are itching for matches to recommence after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the entire world of athletics last month.

But some of the most impressive minds on the planet think the return of sports will take a lot longer than many die-hards realize.

In an interview with Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show," Bill Gates shared his thoughts on what measures will be necessary to move past the current crisis and regain a sense of normalcy. And unfortunately for sports fans, his outlook on the prospects of a speedy revival of professional athletics are not particularly promising.

The Microsoft co-founder said that he's hopeful the spread will be curtailed within the next few months. But he also stressed that sporting events will likely be the last of societal norms to return due to the high risk of widespread contagion in a close range.

"About 80% of people are going to change their activities. If you get the other 20% to go along with that nationwide, then the disease numbers will flatten - hopefully in the next month - and start to go down - hopefully in the month after that," Gates said. "When they've gone down a lot, then in a tasteful way, using prioritised testing, you can start to reopen a lot of things, like schools and work. Probably not sports events because the chance of mass spread there is quite large."

Gates acknowledged that there is immense amount of economic pain and frustration that comes with the continuation of stay-at-home measures but insists that it's "the only way" to ensure that COVID-19 "won't spread in some very, very big way."

"To get back economically, taking the pain extremely now and telling those who wouldn't curb their activities 'No, you must go along with the rest of society and not associate in a way that we have exponential increase in these cases' is the right thing, even though it's extremely painful," Gates said. "It's unheard of... [But] people will need the confidence that the system is working."

"Things can reopen if we do the right things in the summer, but it won't be completely normal," he added.

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