During the recent TIME, 100 summit Bill Gates blamed Donald Trump and his administration for allowing the COVID-19 to spread unchecked!
Speaking at the Summit, Gates said there was a lack of diagnostic testing by the U.S. under former President Donald Trump to track the early spread of the virus. Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft and head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been an outspoken global health advocate who has frequently talked about pandemics.
The often controversial philanthropist tested positive for COVID-19 himself last month.
“If we had done one thing well, which is scale up our ability to do diagnostics and then enforce quarantines around those diagnostics, then the United States would be more like Australia that’s had 10 percent of the deaths or Taiwan that’s had 3 percent of the deaths that we’ve had,” Gates said at Time 100.
“A failure to just practice and even understand which group in the government was involved in large-scale diagnostics,” he continued. “…that meant that the disease basically spread unchecked [in] the first few hundred days and then after that, you’re in very tough shape because of that exponential growth. You can’t do much if you don’t act quickly.”
Australia has had much less than 10 percent of the COVID-19 deaths seen in the U.S. in absolute terms—Australia had recorded 8,802 deaths compared to 1,004,260 in the U.S. at the time of publication. Adjusting for population size, the U.S. has recorded around 306.2 deaths per 100,000 people compared to 34.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Australia, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Gates added in the interview that COVID “could have been way more fatal” and that “we just got lucky that the death rate per case was like 0.2 percent.”
The TIME 100 Summit was held in NYC on June 7. According to its organizers, the purpose was “to spotlight solutions and encourage action toward a better world.” Besides Gates, other speakers at this year’s Summit included, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, filmmaker Taika Waititi, athlete Dwyane Wade, John Kerry, and musician Jon Batiste.
Gates is not the only one critical of the Trump administration’s initial response to the COVID pandemic. The former president said that his move to restrict travelers from China to the U.S. in February 2020 was “very early” and “saved a lot of lives,” but a Pew Research Center poll from that April showed that 65 percent of around 4,900 U.S. adults surveyed said Trump was “too slow” in taking major steps to address the outbreak.
As of publication, neither Trump nor his office has issued any kind of response to Gates’s accusations at the TIMES Summit.