Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said that the United States and the world could have done a better job of mitigating the dire impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you use January and February properly and did community testing, you didn’t have to go through this horrific economic cost,” Gates said on CNN‘s global town hall. “Tools can be developed enough that an epidemic like this one could have been stopped at very small numbers.”
In an article he wrote for The New England Journal of Medicine, Gates said it would likely cost billions of dollars in order to be better prepared for a pandemic like this one.
However, he said that compared to the cost of the US defense budget, such an investment would prove frugal.
“For something that’s not even 5% of the defense budget, (or even) below that, you can have pandemic preparedness, innovation, stockpiles, simulation that at least for this threat would have been overwhelmingly successful,” he said.
More than one million coronavirus cases and over 63,000 deaths have been reported in the United States alone. Throughout the world, the number of infections has risen above 3.25 million, while the death toll has surpassed 233,000.