Bill Gates has said that the US response to the pandemic is “a tragedy”.
In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN, Gates was asked about how history will judge the US response to the pandemic. “The US would have been expected to be the best – we have the CDC, we have the most PCR machines, we’ve got the NIH, and sadly, before the epidemic and the first two or three months, we didn’t get on top of it.”
Bill Gates has been passionate about global public health for decades – He and his wife Melissa run the Gates Foundation, which provides medical treatments and vaccines to vulnerable populations all over the world. Since the start of the pandemic, the Gates Foundation has been part of the effort to manufacture and distribute the Covid-19 vaccines once they are approved.
He was mildly optimistic about the hope that the vaccines can represent, but said that Trump’s executive order – which would prioritise the distribution of vaccines to Americans over everyone else – was ‘hardly the appropriate response’. He said, “we need to help all of humanity here - we want the world economy to be going, we want to minimise the deaths.”
He also pointed out that the technology for the vaccine, which Trump was referring to, was a German company, and “blocking international sharing and cooperation has been disruptive and a mistake.”
Bill Gates on Trump signing an executive order prioritizing the distribution of vaccines to Americans first: "Well,… https://t.co/bnrxCDQ8Js
Gates also said that by the summer of 2021, that populations will be much closer to normal life than currently exists, although there is still a great risk posed by reintroduction of the virus unless people all over the world are able to access the vaccine.
“We’ll have nine months where a few things - where public gatherings - will still be restricted. But we can see now somewhere between 12 and 18 months from then that we have a chance to get back to normal.”
Gates was also asked about the changeover between administrations, and whether the transition from a Trump administration to a Biden administration could potentially affect the delivery of the vaccine within the US. Gates said that it could but that he was “pleased with the people and the priority that president-elect Biden and his team are bringing to bear on this problem.” Gates has also confirmed that he will be taking the vaccine.
As of Sunday morning, the US had reported more than 16 million Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.