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Bill Gates says the coronavirus pandemic in the US is much worse than he anticipated

Published Jun 29th, 2020 6:07PM EDT
Bill Gates Coronavirus
Image: Elaine Thompson/AP/Shutterstock

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  • Bill Gates believes the US needs to do a lot more to control the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • The number of new coronavirus cases in the US recently reached an all-time high.
  • In stark contrast, the number of new coronavirus cases in countries like Italy and Spain has dropped considerably in recent weeks.

If you take a look at the growth rate of the coronavirus across any number of countries, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that the United States’ response to COVID-19 has been shockingly ineffective. While the number of coronavirus cases in places like Italy and Spain has gone down considerably since the pandemic began in March, the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States is rising rapidly. Many states, with Florida and Arizona being two prime examples, are routinely setting new daily records for coronavirus infections. Meanwhile, the United States last week set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases on five consecutive days.

Commenting on the situation, Bill Gates during a recent appearance on CNN said the U.S. simply hasn’t been as tough as it needs to be when it comes to issues like mask compliance, contact tracing, and enforcing quarantine. In something of an illustrative example, comedian DL Hughley fainted on stage at a comedy club in Tennessee and was later found to have the coronavirus. Meanwhile, barely anyone in the comedy club at the time was wearing a mask during his performance.

All told, Gates explained that the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is much “more bleak” than he would have anticipated a few weeks ago.

Gates articulated that the problem, in his view, is that many people today have reached a point of exhaustion when it comes to certain safety measures. What’s more, Gates said that some people aren’t willing to adhere to safety measures like social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing unless they happen to personally know someone impacted by the virus.

“It’s almost as though people have a willingness to go into lockdown once,” Gates said, “and for a certain period.”

“Then it takes, to get them, to extend it past a certain thing, or even to inconvenience themselves with masks, requires somebody they know to not only test positive but to also get very sick as well,” Gates added. “And so the range of behaviors in the U.S. right now, some people are being very conservative in what they do and some people are basically ignoring the epidemic. It’s huge. And we’ve worn out people’s patience, and if they don’t see it in some way. Some people almost feel like it’s a political thing, which is unfortunate.”

“The only good news in this,” Gates added, “is that the death rate has gone down somewhat as we’re learning how to treat better and we’re less overloaded.”

Still, the situation across a number of states is far from encouraging. In Arizona and Texas, for example, many hospitals are at or are close to capacity when it comes to available beds in the ICU.

Further, the coronavirus is a particularly vicious virus, which is to say that even though the death rate may not be rising relative to the number of new cases, coronavirus survivors may still experience impaired lung function and other problems in the future.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.