Story at a glance

  • Gates said very few countries will get an A-grade in their handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • He said the world should have invested more to quickly have diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 550,000.

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates said Sunday the world is “in uncharted territory” due to a lack of investment and preparation for the novel coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus has now infected more than 1.8 million people and killed more than 114,000 around the globe

“Well, there was the period when I and other health experts were saying that this was the greatest potential downfall the world faced,” Gates told BBC Breakfast Sunday, referencing past warnings Gates gave including a 2015 Ted Talk titled “The next outbreak? We’re not ready.”


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“We definitely will look back and wish we had invested more so that we could quickly have all the diagnostics, drugs and vaccines,” he said. 

Gates said nations could have better prepared testing capabilities and made sure hospitals were prepared to handle a surge of patients. He said once the pandemic is over, “very few countries are going to get an A-grade,” for their handling of the outbreak. 

“Now, here we are, we didn’t simulate this, we didn’t practice,” he said. “So both [in] the health policies and economic policies, we find ourselves in uncharted territory.”


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Through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Bill Gates has pledged $100 million towards fighting the pandemic. He's funded coronavirus testing kits that people can use at home and has said that he will help pay for factories that can produce an eventual vaccine.

Gates recently said his foundation is paying for the construction of facilities that will manufacture seven promising coronavirus vaccines, and the best two vaccines could be picked up for final trials. Health officials have said a vaccine may take 12-18 months after successful human clinical trials. 

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has surpassed 557,000 as of Monday morning, with more than 22,000 deaths. New York state alone has more cases than any single country, and the U.S. has the most coronavirus-related deaths in the world.


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Published on Apr 13, 2020