The US will see “lots of additional” coronavirus-related deaths if the nation does not “get our act together” amid the ongoing pandemic, according to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates during an upcoming interview on NBC's ‘Meet the Press’, set to be aired on Sunday.
The tech leader blasted the COVID-19 response by the Trump administration as “the worst” program in the world, due to prolonged waiting times for results and “in terms of who gets access to it”.
“There are lots of additional deaths coming if we don’t get our act together,” Gates told anchor Chuck Todd. “We are running the worst testing system, in terms of who gets access to it, of any country.”
Gates suggested that the Trump administration “admit that you haven’t done a good job”, and called on them to “make some straightforward changes”. Gates noted that many of Trump's mistakes are “not that hard to fix” at the current stage of the pandemic.
“You do have to admit that you haven’t done a good job, and make some straightforward changes,” Gates said. “In that case, just the way the reimbursement is done is crazy. So there is an ability to, in terms of leadership that helps with the right behaviors, to protect people. We can still do a lot better.”
EXCLUSIVE: @BillGates tells @chucktodd that there are "lots of additional deaths [from Covid-19 in the United States] coming if we don't get our act together." #MTP #IfItsSunday— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 9, 2020
“We are running the worst testing system, in terms of who gets access to it, of any country.” pic.twitter.com/NbS6yVgBhU
He slammed the “quality” of the administration’s COVID-19 response as “the opposite of what you would’ve expected”.
“And so there’ll be a lot of work in the postmortem. Why didn’t we pay attention to the warnings? Why did we de-staff the positions that would’ve worked in these areas?” the Microsoft co-founder stated. “But, you know, just trying to assess blame is not what the focus should be now. The focus should be now is get the diagnostics right.”
In early-April, Gates warned that the US would enter a “nightmare scenario” in the COVID-19 pandemic if the government and citizens do not comply with social distancing and self-isolation guidelines. At that time, the US general infection tally was about 336,000 cases, while the death toll had been slightly over 9,600.
“If we do the social distancing properly, we should be able to get out of this with the death number well short of that,” Gates said. “This is a nightmare scenario because human-to-human transmittal respiratory viruses can grow exponentially.”
As of Saturday, the US has registered over 7.7 million COVID-19 infection cases, along with at least 214,120 deaths, according to data collated by the Johns Hopkins University.