- Bill Gates spoke to CBS News’s Norah O’Donnell on Wednesday night
- Gates said that ‘serious mistakes’ were made by the Trump administration
- He said silencing experts like Dr Anthony Fauci and CDC chiefs was illogical
- Gates said that getting pupils back to school was of immense importance
- He pushed for more to be done to reassure teachers and parents about schools
- Gates addressed conspiracy theories, saying he hoped the truth would come out
Bill Gates has warned that any vaccine against coronavirus could take several doses to be effective, as he described ‘serious mistakes’ made by the Trump administration and said some schools may not be back to normal until the fall of 2021.
The Microsoft founder, who now directs much of his time and energy to his global health foundation, said that the closure of schools was, after deaths, the ‘biggest cost’ of the pandemic.
‘Some of the policies were a mistake,’ said Gates.
‘Opening up bars – the economic benefit versus the infection risk – a lot of policies like that made it a mistake.’
Gates, 64, emphasized that key to combating the virus was social distancing, wearing masks, and developing a vaccine.
His foundation has donated $300 million to support the efforts.
And Gates said that the closure of schools was among his biggest concerns.
‘I’d put that, after the deaths, as the next biggest cost,’ he said.
‘This next academic year does hang in the balance, he continued.
‘It’s extremely important. You want the staff to feel safe, that you’re taking measures on their behalf. You want the learning to resume.
‘Sadly the suburban and private schools are doing a lot better at putting learning online.
‘It’s the inner cities that don’t have the resources.’
He said policies should be put in place to help inner city schools, and younger children, get back to the classrooms.
‘The big challenge is how to get the teachers and staff in, and avoid them being a source of infection when they go back to their households,’ he said.
‘If you’re in a hotspot, sadly in this fall, it won’t be normal. By fall 2021 we’ll hopefully have this under control enough.’
Asked whether he would send his children to a public school, if he was in that situation, he replied: ‘If a school is being careful, then yes. If they live in a multi-generational household, then you have to look at how hard it is to reduce the grandparents’ exposure to the kids.’
On the issue of a vaccine, Gates said he had faith in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finding a safe and reliable vaccine.
But he warned that it would take ‘unbelievably big numbers’ of doses to wipe the virus out.
‘None of the vaccines at this point appear like they’ll work with a single dose,’ Gates said. ‘That was the hope at the very beginning.’
Gates, who has been warning about the threat of a global pandemic since 2015, admitted that ‘there will be a lot of uncertainty’ about the efficacy of any vaccine, but stressed that it’s a solution ‘that will improve over time.’
Gates said that he was dismayed by the response from the Trump administration, although he conceded that some of the ‘serious mistakes’ were made ‘because we didn’t understand the virus very well.’
Among those mistakes was not encouraging people to wear face masks, and reopening too quickly, he said.
He said Europe, in general, responded better.
‘Their leadership communicated with a clear voice; their scientists were encouraged to go on tv rather than banned; and their population benefited,’ he said.
‘Just the idea that the CDC isn’t being heard from, and that Fauci is being limited – you’d never have predicted that. It’s really unexpected that you’d not have the experts able to share.’
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