Bill Gates Says US Lost its Chance to Avoid Covid-19 Shutdown


Bill Gates spoke about the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic on a TED Connects virtual event. According to Gates, the US didn’t act quick enough to avoid shutting down large segments of the economy. In fact, Gates said that January should have been the time for beginning the stay at home orders. As a result, the US is in a serious economic and health crisis.

Gates continued by suggesting the current shutdown should last six to ten weeks. While Gates recognized that such measures were needed for the protecting public health, he also recognized they would be devastating for the economy. However, Gates also claimed that it would be hard to get people to consume regardless of official policy due to fear of the outbreak.

In contrast, President Trump has said that he wants only a short lockdown on American public life. On Twitter, he has encouraged reopening the economy within 15 days, by Easter Sunday. Health experts have warned against the recommendation.

Gates also suggested that the US should dramatically ramp up its testing capability and focus on those most vulnerable to the outbreak. “In terms of testing, we’re still not creating that capacity and applying it to people in need,” Gates said. “The testing thing has got to be organized, has got to be prioritized. That is super, super urgent.”

Early morning on March 25th, the US had 53,852 infections and 728 deaths. So far, the US has the third highest number of infections of any country in the world, but to this point has recorded significantly fewer deaths than Italy, China, Spain, France and Iran.


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