Bill Gates on Covid: Most US Tests Are ‘Completely Garbage’ |
The techie-turned-philanthropist on vaccines, Trump, and why social media is “a poisoned chalice.” |
August 7, 2020
WIRED – My first interview with Gates was in 1983, and I’ve long lost count of how many times I’ve spoken to him since.
He’s yelled at me (more in the earlier years) and made me laugh (more in the latter years).
But I’ve never looked forward to speaking to him more than in our year of Covid.
We connected on Wednesday, remotely of course.
In discussing our country’s failed responses, his issues with his friend Mark Zuckerberg’s social networks, and the innovations that might help us out of this mess, Gates did not disappoint. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
WIRED: You have been warning us about a global pandemic for years. Now that it has happened just as you predicted, are you disappointed with the performance of the United States?
Bill Gates: Yeah. There’s three time periods, all of which have disappointments. There is 2015 until this particular pandemic hit. If we had built up the diagnostic, therapeutic, and vaccine platforms, and if we’d done the simulations to understand what the key steps were, we’d be dramatically better off.
Then there’s the time period of the first few months of the pandemic, when the US actually made it harder for the commercial testing companies to get their tests approved, the CDC had this very low volume test that didn’t work at first, and they weren’t letting people test.
The travel ban came too late, and it was too narrow to do anything. Then, after the first few months, eventually we figured out about masks, and that leadership is important. Read more.