Microsoft founder Bill Gates criticized how the U.S. has handled the coronavirus in an interview Wednesday, July 22, condemning the politicization of face masks and moves by the Trump administration to limit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from sharing data.
“By almost every measure, the U.S. is one of the worst, and I think we can change that but it’s an ugly picture,” he said during an interview with CBS, adding that the politicization of face masks is one of the reasons we are doing worse than other countries.
Gates also said that the CDC being silenced from sharing information is “unexpected.”
“It’s really the CDC that’s been muzzled to a dramatic degree that’s holding us back from getting the benefit of their expertise,” he said. “It is really unexpected that you wouldn’t let the experts share.”
Gates’ interview comes one week after new guidance went into effect that reroutes coronavirus data and information directly to the White House and bypasses the CDC. A public coronavirus hospital capacity dashboard used by health care workers, public health officials, and researchers disappeared from the CDC’s website last week.
Gates has been outspoken about the coronavirus and has said he regrets not doing more to warn about the threat of a severe pandemic.
“I wish the warnings that I and other people gave had led to more coordinated global action,” he said. “My hope now is that leaders around the world, who are responsible for protecting their citizens, will take what has been learned from this tragedy and invest in systems to prevent future outbreaks.”
The U.S. has seen a recent uptick in coronavirus cases, resulting in businesses having to shut down even after reopening. There have been more than 3.9 million positive coronavirus cases in the United States since the pandemic began, with more than 144,000 deaths linked to the virus, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
For the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 page.
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