Melinda Gates gave the Trump administration’s coronavirus response a D-. Her remark follows glowing praise from her husband, Bill Gates, about China’s handling of COVID-19.
Melinda Gates: D- on coronavirus response
On Thursday, Melinda Gates graded the Trump administration’s coronavirus response as a D-, according to Politico. She said more money is needed to work on a vaccine and expand testing both in the U.S. and around the world. She cited lack of a coordinated, national response for the reason for the low grade. She explained that every governor in the country was coming up with their own version of what to do or “50 different homegrown state solutions” rather than a national coronavirus response from the White House.
She said if the U.S. were doing what “exemplar countries” like Germany are doing, it would be testing more people. She said the U.S. should be testing healthcare workers first, followed by the most vulnerable patients. She also said the U.S. should be doing contract tracing and thinking about reopening slowly “in safe and healthy ways.”
However, Melinda Gates said the Trump administration’s coronavirus response has a “lack of a coordinated effort.”
What should be done about it
Gates said the U.S. should be doing more testing and contact tracing and that organizations should be funding the development of a vaccine. She pointed out that European leaders have been raising funds this week and brought in $7.4 billion for research into a COVID-19 vaccine.
She was also critical of the U.S. response internationally. She explained that in Africa, other health conditions and food insecurity will be worsened after the pandemic is over. When that happens in Africa, it “bounces back into Europe, into the United States.” Thus, she said more money is required for the international response, which the U.S. has been lacking on completely.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said on Thursday that President Trump has been working closely with governors across the country to help states get the resources they need. He said the coronavirus response has been about “close coordination and partnerships with State and local governments.”
U.S. and China
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said during an event for GeekWire that he is disappointed that the U.S. isn’t working with other nations against the pandemic. He added that the U.S. did not participate in a conference this week where leaders from Canada, Europe, Japan and other parts of the world pledged $8 billion to support the World Health Organization in the fight against COVID-19.
He noted that the U.S. is pouring a lot of resources into a vaccine for the coronavirus. At a minimum, he hopes the investments by the world and the U.S. can be complementary so no efforts are being duplicated, wasting resources in the process.
Last month, Bill Gates praised China’s response to the pandemic and downplayed allegations about its response, calling them a “distraction.” In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Josh Rogin explained why it is important to call out the Chinese government for hiding information about the coronavirus. He said Beijing’s cover-up continues to put the world at risk as the pandemic rages on.