Melinda Gates describes US coronavirus response as “chaos.” She gave it a grade of D-minus and said that the US “wasted so much time.”
The co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation criticized the government for the lack of national leadership to effectively run tests and produce protective gear and other supplies and services needed in the country.
“I’m surprised we’ve wasted so much time. That we haven’t had leadership at the national level to get out tests in the right way, protective gear in the right way, contact tracing in the right way… And so you’re seeing what’s happening. And it’s chaos,” she said in an interview with NBC’s “Today.”
She mentioned that Germany is an example of a nation that was able to keep certain sectors of its economy running while ensuring the safety of its residents at the same time.
“That’s the kind of leadership we should expect as citizens in this country, and we’re not getting it. We haven’t gotten it yet during this crisis, and you’re seeing what’s happening. And it’s chaos,” she said.
Gates, in a different interview with Politico, gave the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic a grade of D-minus.
She said governors are working, “but now we have 50 different homegrown state solutions instead of a national response.”
“You know, if we were doing the things that the exemplar countries are doing, like Germany, we would be testing,” she told Politico. “We would be testing, first, health care workers and then the most vulnerable, and you’d be doing contact tracing.”
Gates believes that states can slowly reopen businesses in a safe and healthy manner once there are tests and contact tracing. “We have a lack of a coordinated effort. That’s just the truth, across the United States.”
Moreover, she said that testing and contact tracing would need more funds. She added that organizations must find ways to support vaccine development globally, mentioning an event led by European leaders that raised 7.4 billion euros.
Gates said that the US is “lacking in its response on the international front.” She noted that food shortages and health issues will worsen in regions such as Africa.
“It is increasingly clear that the world’s response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable,” said Gates. She emphasized the importance of global solidarity and equal protection of the poorest communities.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shelled out than $250 million to help curb the coronavirus pandemic after adding $125 million worth of funding in April. The grant will be used for the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
The risk of reopening states
Like Gates, Dr. Anthony Fauci, top health expert in the US, does not support reopenings without proper health protocols and a vaccine.
However, he also said that there is no guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine is actually going to be effective.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases presented his statements on Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Dr. Fauci testified during a hearing about reopening businesses in the US.
“You can have everything you think that’s in place and you don’t induce the kind of immune response that turns out to be protective and durably protective,” Fauci said of a vaccine.
“So one of the big unknowns is, will it be effective? Given the way the body responds to viruses of this type, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will with one of the candidates get an efficacy signal.”