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The Gates Foundation ponied up $100 million to assist in the battle against the spread of coronavirus in February after committing to $10 million in January when the outbreak started. Now Gates insists on the necessity of a nationwide shutdown.
Nowadays everyone is literally obsessed with novel coronavirus and the fear and panicking that is happening around it. Even though nobody can predict what will happen next, when will it all end and what consequences will this have on mankind – we can always listen to someone who maybe does know what he’s talking about. Bill Gates, the co-founder of the tech giant Microsoft has some ideas about what should be done. In his latest blog, Gates states that it is time for making important decisions and shutdown is one of them.
“The choices we and our leaders make now will have an enormous impact on how soon case numbers start to go down, how long the economy remains shut down and how many Americans will have to bury a loved one because of covid-19.”
He goes on explaining that through his work with the Gates Foundation, he has been speaking with lot of experts and leaders in Washington and across the country. So, his advice would be to take next three steps.
Three Steps in Order to Win the Battle, Gates Insists on Shutdown
First, Gates says, we need a consistent nationwide shutdown approach.
“Despite urging from public health experts, some states and counties haven’t shut down completely.”
And yes, we can see that it is a huge problem. California still has some beaches open, in some states, the restaurants are working normally as well. All of this, and more, thinks Gates (and we agree) is a recipe for disaster.
If people are still free to travel around the country – this means the virus can too. The country leaders, thinks Gates need to be clear:
“Shutdown anywhere means shutdown everywhere. Until the case numbers start to go down across America — which could take 10 weeks or more — no one can continue business as usual or relax the shutdown. Any confusion about this point will only extend the economic pain, raise the odds that the virus will return, and cause more deaths.”
The second step Gates proposes is that the federal government steps upon testing. Gates says (and again, we agree) that more tests should be made available. We were witnessing the last month of how expensive those tests were in the U.S.
Gates says it is urgent to find potential volunteers for clinical trials so we can know for sure when it’s the right time to get back to normal life. Gates mentions New York state as a good example because it recently expanded its capacity to up to more than 20,000 tests per day.
However, he admits that demand for tests might probably exceed the supply for some time, and right now, there’s little reason to who gets the few that are available.
That is why nobody can exactly say where the virus is likely headed next, and it will be hard to know if it rebounds later.
Country Needs to Decide on Its Priorities
Gates says the problem is that it takes seven days for the backlog of samples results to arrive and we need them within 24 hours.
“This is why the country needs clear priorities for who is tested. First on the list should be people in essential roles such as health-care workers and first responders, followed by highly symptomatic people who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill and those who are likely to have been exposed.”
Also, Gates says the same goes for masks and ventilators. He says making governors from 50 states to fight for equipment – only makes things worse.
As a third and final step Gates proposes a data-based approach to developing treatments and a vaccine. Scientists are working full speed on both but leaders should help by not stoking rumors or panic buying.
There is a huge need for a safe and effective vaccine that, if everything goes right, could be made in less than 18 months. However, creating a vaccine, says Gates, is only half the battle.
He explains that in order to protect Americans and people around the world, we’ll need to manufacture billions of doses.