Bill Gates is alarmed by what he sees as the Trump administration’s botched response to thatand fears that politics will undermine public confidence in the potential vaccine.
The billionaire philanthropist and his wife voiced their concerns on several news outlets, explaining what they see as a series of mistakes in fighting a virus in the United States. “You know, this has been a badly managed situation at every step,” Gates told STAT News. “It’s shocking. It’s incredible – the fact that we’d be some of the worst in the world.”
According to Gates, appointing neuroradiologist Scott Atlas to direct the White House’s response to the pandemic, rather than an epidemiologist or infectious disease specialist, was a grave mistake. Atlas has advocated keeping the spread of the virus uncontrolled so that the US can achieve herd immunity – an approach many public health experts oppose..
The Microsoft co-founder also questioned a recent move by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent Americans who have been in contact with someone in contact with the virus but were themselves asymptomatic from getting tested .
“It’s mind-blowing,” said Gates of the CDC’s revised test guide, which Atlas supports.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association have urged the CDC to reverse their recommendations. They say it is crucial to identify everyone who is infected, even if they are asymptomatic.
FDA “lost a lot of credibility”
Gates also criticized Stephen Hahn, the Commissioner for Food and Drug Administration, who, according to critics, has exaggerated the results of a Mayo Clinic study on the benefits of using itto treat COVID-19, the next day.
“We have seen with the completely botched plasma statements that people who are pressured to say optimistic things get completely out of hand. The FDA has lost a lot of credibility there,” Gates said in an interview on Tuesday at Bloomberg Television.
The FDA would have to approve a vaccine to vaccinate people against the coronavirus, but recent polls show the majority of Americans fear it;; A third said they wouldn’t get vaccinated last month, according to a Gallup poll.
President Donald Trump claimed on Labor Day that aThe vaccine could be ready “in October” – just weeks before the November 3rd presidential election. Given that a vaccine typically takes several years to develop, this reduced timeframe has raised concerns that political pressure could override the vaccine to review a vaccine.
While Gates, 64, said he had less confidence in the FDA than he used to, he has confidence in the drug companies trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Nine of these companies earlier this monthAdvancing science and ethics in the development of a vaccine.
“These companies are very professional and the benefits of the vaccine are very dramatic,” Gates told Bloomberg. “Thank God we have this private sector expertise that we want to shape into a global public good that reaches everyone on the planet.”
Gates’ words were echoed by his wife Melinda Gates, who told Axios on HBO last weekend that only a “lack of leadership” explains why far more people have died in the US than in other developed countries.
The US just got, but 25% of its coronavirus cases.