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What Bill Gates would do to flatten the coronavirus growth curve if he were president
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates warned about the risk of a deadly pandemic citing the fact that the world isn’t prepared to handle such a health crisis. Unfortunately, the threat Gates warned about became a reality when the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan spread across the globe.
Speaking to TED curator Chris Anderson, Bill Gates offered a few tips on what he would do to flatten the coronavirus growth curve if he were the President of the United States, according to CNBC. The most important thing at this point is to keep Americans in isolation for a while.
“The clear message [would be] that we have no choice to maintain this isolation and that’s going to keep going for a period of time,” Gates told Anderson on Tuesday. “In the Chinese case, it was like six weeks, so we have to prepare ourselves for that and do it very well.”
Bill Gates believes that the number of new infections will start to go down after 20 days but people should still continue to isolate themselves at least six weeks. “If you’re doing isolation well [nationally], within about 20 days you’ll see those numbers [of new cases] really change, and that is a sign that you’re on your way,” he said.
Gates understands that it won’t be easy for most Americans. “This is not going to be easy,” he said. “We need a clear message about that.”
Leaders must not try to cheer people up by suggesting that they “keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies in the corner,” Gates said, according to Forbes. “It’s very irresponsible to suggest to people they can have the best of both worlds.”
But there’s no way around it. Gate believes that isolation is the only way for the United States to escape the terrible outcomes like what happened in Italy and Wuhan.
Unlike Bill Gates, however, President Donald Trump is bent on easing up coronavirus restrictions by Easter, sooner than Gates’ suggestion of six weeks of isolation. “You can’t just come in and say let’s close up the United States of America, the biggest, the most successful country in the world by far,” Trump said on Tuesday.
Just like Gates, medical experts fear that Trump’s plan of opening up American by Easter is way too soon. “Obviously Trump is not rooted in reality,” Infectious Diseases Society of America board member Dr. Tina Tan said.
While Gates understands the devastating economic effects of a prolonged lockdown, he believes that people’s lives are worth more than mere money. “But money, you know bringing the economy back and doing money, that’s more of a reversible thing than bringing people back to life,” Gates explained. “And so we’re going to take the pain in the economic dimension — huge pain — in order to minimize the pain in the disease and death dimension.”