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article imageBill Gates says 'tougher action' needed to combat COVID-19

By Karen Graham     Apr 1, 2020 in Politics
Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates has ramped up his calls for tougher U.S. action to beat COVID-19 and urged a “consistent” nationwide shutdown in an op-ed published in the Washington Post.
In the Washington Post op-ed, Gates wrote that he had spoken with experts through his work with his charity who said a national policy would be more effective than letting the 50 states separately make their own rules, arguing that the country needs a "consistent nationwide approach to shutting down."
The Microsoft founder went on to propose three steps the Trump administration needs to take in order to get an upper hand on the virus: A nationwide shutdown, increased testing (with healthcare workers at the front of the queue), and a "data-based approach to developing treatments and a vaccine."
Gates wrote: “Despite urging from public health experts, some states and counties haven’t shut down completely. In some states, beaches are still open; in others, restaurants still serve sit-down meals.” Calling this a "recipe for disaster," he reminded us that the virus does not respect state lines and the government needs to be very clear on this. "Shutdown anywhere means shutdown everywhere.”
Vaccine manufacturing
Bill Gates praised the Trump administration for signing recent deals with at least two companies, which includes Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceuticals arm to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine, but also noted that "creating a vaccine is only half the battle," because it will still take at least 18 months to come up with a viable vaccine.
"We can start now by building the facilities where these vaccines will be made," Gates wrote. "Because many of the top candidates are made using unique equipment, we’ll have to build facilities for each of them, knowing that some won’t get used. Private companies can’t take that kind of risk, but the federal government can."
Gates had earlier warned during a virtual TED interview that the U.S. could see up to ten weeks of isolation “in the best-case scenario” in order to minimize deaths and economic damage.
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