Saturday, August 8, 2020

Bill Gates is Not Happy with America's Coronavirus Response

 From an interview at Wired:

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. . . .

But things are getting better:

At this point, are you optimistic?

Yes. You have to admit there’s been trillions of dollars of economic damage done and a lot of debts, but the innovation pipeline on scaling up diagnostics, on new therapeutics, on vaccines is actually quite impressive. And that makes me feel like, for the rich world, we should largely be able to end this thing by the end of 2021, and for the world at large by the end of 2022. That is only because of the scale of the innovation that’s taking place. Now whenever we get this done, we will have lost many years in malaria and polio and HIV and the indebtedness of countries of all sizes and instability. It’ll take you years beyond that before you’d even get back to where you were at the start of 2020. It’s not World War I or World War II, but it is in that order of magnitude as a negative shock to the system.
Gates notes that hospitals have cut the death rate in half with existing drugs and better care, and

This disease, from both the animal data and the phase 1 data, seems to be very vaccine preventable
But Gates remains angry about certain bottlenecks:

But people aren’t getting their tests back quickly enough.

Well, that’s just stupidity. The majority of all US tests are completely garbage, wasted. If you don’t care how late the date is and you reimburse at the same level, of course they’re going to take every customer. Because they are making ridiculous money, and it’s mostly rich people that are getting access to that. You have to have the reimbursement system pay a little bit extra for 24 hours, pay the normal fee for 48 hours, and pay nothing [if it isn’t done by then]. And they will fix it overnight.

Why don’t we just do that?

Because the federal government sets that reimbursement system. When we tell them to change it they say, “As far as we can tell, we’re just doing a great job, it’s amazing!” Here we are, this is August. We are the only country in the world where we waste the most money on tests. Fix the reimbursement. Set up the CDC website. But I have been on that kick, and people are tired of listening to me.


G. Verloren said...

"Bill Gates is Not Happy with America's Coronavirus Response"

...who in their right mind WOULD be? Nearly a quarter of GLOBAL deaths from the pandemic have been Americans, AND we're well on track to have more Americans die from this disease than were killed in all of World War II!

What in the world is WRONG with our media that they think we need BILL GATES to weigh in on this? We have doctors, we have pathologists, we have medical experts of every stripe from all around the world who have been warning us from DAY ONE what would happen if we didn't take appropriate action, and we've ignored them at every turn. What the FUCK do we care what Bill Gates, a famous computer engineer and businessman with no medical qualifications whatsoever, has to say on the matter?

How is his opinion relevant? Oh right, it ISN'T - but the average American is a moron who distrusts doctors and scientists, but values the opinions of famous people, CEOS, and the people who manufacture their favorite consumer products. Then combine that with the fact that our corporate media is happy to cater to the whims of our imbecilic populous instead of taking any kind of responsibility for their positions of privilege and using their massive reach, resources, and influence to help elevate public discourse and educate our society instead of pandering to the stupidity and ignorance of the masses they profit off of.

We all know that America's Coronavirus Response has been the worst in the modern developed world by far, and arguably one of the worst on the entire planet. American politics and stupidity have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people needlessly, and it's going to KEEP happening, in part because we elected an egotistical imbecile backed by a literal death cult, but also in part because people just DON'T GIVE A DAMN.

Some hijackers kill 3,000 Americans on 9/11? Everyone is stunned and horrified and demands immediate action, leading to us to go to war for the next TWO DECADES in Afghanistan, kill hundreds of thousands of people, and accomplish absolutely nothing of value through any of it, at a massive cost to ourselves, wholly needlessly!

But our own government lets 150,000+ Americans died needlessly out of inaction and incompetence? Well, good ol' Bubba America simply doesn't give a damn, because the REAL nightmare is being forced to wear a face mask in the worst global pandemic in a century, and not being able go to church, the beach, or the local bar! The horror!

It's absolutely stunning not just how bad the government's response has been, but how bad OUR response as a people has been. America is dying, both literally and figuratively, because the average person is too stupid, selfish, and tribal to realize they are constantly undermining the country's survival.

Mário R. Gonçalves said...

The comparison with 9/11 is completely unfair and unethical. That was a deliberate murder and anyone understands that such a massive murder could not go unpunished. Somehow, in an also barbaric way, justice has been done.

The American people is not especially worse than any other in the collective reponse to the pandemic. There is resistance to the mask everywhere in Europe, and many keep going to beach and gather around bars for binge drinking. It is a minority though. So those who are dying, die from the virus, not from selfishness or stupidness of the people, even if this is a sad reality. The fatalities in America are even not higher than in oher countries, say Belgium, in relative numbers.

What has been a shame is the public coverage and the criteria of communication, creating fear after fear instead of clear instructions and good examples. I don't see panic in Austria, or Cuba, or Sweden. People mostly live as always, only with basic and rational caution. In many countries (USA) the strategy has been one of terryfying, picturing Apocalypse, threatening, and therefore life is hell. There are thousands dying of illnesses that ar not admitted to treatment, thousands or millions in absolute psycologic distress hoping this ends or they die, old people totally abandoned to die alone at home. The worst sickness Covid brought is not the infection: it's carelessness, loneliness and abandon.

If that was what Gates meant, hail him. But I suspect he just meant as many others that the culprit of it all is Trump.