Bill Gates on COVID-19 response: We are in 'uncharted territory'
From Italy to India, several countries are reeling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over one lakh people have died (still increasing) and economic and healthcare systems are on the verge of collapse. Now, looking at all this, Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has said that very few countries will get 'A-grade' for their response to the pandemic. Here's more on what he said.
We didn't do enough to prepare for COVID-19, Gates says
In a conversation with BBC, Gates said that several experts, including himself, had warned that a pandemic was the "greatest potential downfall" the world faced. However, despite the warnings, the governments around the world didn't do enough to invest in possible solutions to quickly get relevant diagnostics, drugs, vaccines ready, "not even 5% of what we could have done," per Gates.
"Very few countries will get A-grade" on response strategy
Owing to the lack of investment and preparedness, when COVID-19 started spreading, countries bore witness to widespread disruptions and deaths. They did take response measures by scrambling to prepare for tests, enforcing lockdowns, and upscaling ventilator and ICU capacity, but from what it looks like "very few countries are going to get A-grade" for their response to the pandemic, Gates emphasized.
Now, we are in uncharted territory
As a result of poor preparedness and patchy response, countries and their citizens are dealing with the situation of a major crisis. "We didn't simulate this, we didn't practise," Gates said, while adding that now we "find ourselves in uncharted territory" for both the health and economic policies needed to get things back to normal.
Gates warned about this pandemic in 2015
The remark from Gates comes as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to increase in the US and around the world. He had warned about an epidemic like this in his TED Talk about five years ago, and is also supporting vaccine development, trials, and relief efforts for the pandemic through Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.