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Bill Gates urges Congress to spend $4B for COVID-19 vaccines in poor countries

Bill Gates urges Congress to spend $4B for COVID-19 vaccines in poor countries

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is urging Congress to vote on spending at least $4 billion for COVID-19 vaccines in poorer countries.

According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's 2020 Goalkeeper report, Gates said there had not been so many countries in a recession simultaneously since 1870, he told The New York Times.

He cited the period between 1990 and 2020, where the global poverty rate  which is defined as living on less than $2 a day  fell to less than 7 percent from 37 percent.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 37 million people fell back below the poverty line, the Goalkeeper report estimated.

The report concluded that as much as twice as many fatalities due to COVID-19 could be prevented if vaccines were distributed based on countries' population size rather than the top 50 wealthiest nations.

His comments come as U.S. COVID-19 cases, which have surged for months during the pandemic this year, have started to decline while cases are surging exponentially in India.

Case rates in India have shown reports of increases of more than 80,000 new infections a day for the past seven days, bringing the country's total to 4,846,427 total cases and 79,722 fatalities, Johns Hopkins University reported.

Last month, the Gates Foundation invested in providing low- to middle-income countries $3 COVID-19 vaccines.

Gates said he would like to lobby for an additional $4 billion in spending on the upcoming coronavirus stimulus package still under debate between Congress and the Senate.

"It's my disposition," he said. "Plus, I've got to call these people up and make the pitch to them that this really makes sense — and I totally, totally believe it makes sense."