Bill Gates Attacks Trump, Blasts 'Insanity' of Pandemic Handling
Billionaire slams administration's ‘mind-blowing’ COVID-19 response
Billionaire Bill Gates has attacked President Donald Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, blasting his administration's response as "mind-blowing."
Speaking during an interview with CNN, the Microsoft founder slammed the Trump admin's approach to the coronavirus as "insanity."
Gates told CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday that Trump’s COVID response was “mind-blowing that because you can’t get the federal government to improve the testing.”
Zakaria asked: “How do you explain the fact that the richest country on earth, that spends per capita maybe two to three times as much on health care as all the other rich countries in the world, seems to be kind of at the bottom of the pile of the advanced countries in the world in being able to handle this pandemic, what would be your answer?”
"Well, it took a number of mistakes," Gates replied.
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"And I wouldn’t have predicted that we would do so poorly," Gates continued.
"You know, our Center for Disease Control is the best group of epidemiologists in the world.
"In fact, everyone relies on them,” he added.
“But a variety of missteps by the U.S. and then the political atmosphere meant that we didn’t get our testing going.
"You know, it’s nonsense that any sort of travel ban we did was at all beneficial.
"That, you know, doesn’t pass the common sense test in terms of the waves of people that U.S. citizens that were allowed to keep coming in.
"And now, you know, we executed our lockdowns less nationwide and with less fidelity than other countries.
"So, we’re paying a pretty dramatic price, and not just in deaths," he continued.
"We also pay it in terms of the economic toll, which is up in the trillions.”
"Our testing, of course, to this day, it’s mind-blowing that because you can’t get the federal government to improve the testing because they just want to say how great it is.
"You know, I’ve said to them, look, have a CDC website that prioritizes who gets tested.
"That’s trivial to do," Gates added.
"They won’t pay attention to that," he continued.
"I’ve said, don’t reimburse any tests, so the result goes back after three days.
"You’re paying billion dollars in to get the worst test results of any country in the world.
"You’ve created this incentive for the commercial guys to have long lines because you do not want to waste government money.
"You pay as much for the late result as the timely result.
"No other country has this testing insanity because they won’t talk about fixing it because they’re —you know, they think they need to just keep acting like they’ve done a competent job.”
Meanwhile, Gates took further swipes at President Trump while praising Russia and China during a separate interview published Saturday.
“Are you concerned that in our rush to get a vaccine we are going to approve something that isn’t safe and effective?” the magazine asked.
“Yeah,” Gates responded.
"In China and Russia, they are moving full speed ahead.
"I bet there’ll be some vaccines that will get out to lots of patients without the full regulatory review somewhere in the world.
"We probably need three or four months, no matter what, of phase 3 data, just to look for side effects.”
"The FDA, to their credit, at least so far, is sticking to requiring proof of efficacy,” the billionaire added.
"So far they have behaved very professionally despite the political pressure.
"There may be pressure, but people are saying no, make sure that that’s not allowed.”
In a dig at Trump, Gates added, "The irony is that this is a president who is a vaccine skeptic.
"Every meeting I have with him he is like, ‘Hey, I don’t know about vaccines, and you have to meet with this guy Robert Kennedy Jr. who hates vaccines and spreads crazy stuff about them.'”
Earlier in the interview, Gates said he was disappointed with the United States’ response to the pandemic.
WIRED asked Gates, “You have been warning us about a global pandemic for years.
"Now that it has happened just as you predicted, are you disappointed with the performance of the United States?”
"Yeah," Gates replied.
"There’s three time periods, all of which have disappointments,” he continued.
"There is 2015 until this particular pandemic hit.
"If we had built up the diagnostic, therapeutic, and vaccine platforms, and if we’d done the simulations to understand what the key steps were, we’d be dramatically better off.
"Then there’s the time period of the first few months of the pandemic when the U.S. actually made it harder for the commercial testing companies to get their tests approved, the CDC had this very low volume test that didn’t work at first, and they weren’t letting people test.”
"The travel ban came too late, and it was too narrow to do anything.
"Then, after the first few months, eventually, we figured out about masks, and that leadership is important,” added Gates.