Melinda Gates gives US admin ‘D-minus’ for COVID-19 response

WASHINGTON: Melinda Gates, an American philanthropist and wife of billionaire Bill Gates, gave the US administration a “D-minus” for the lack of national coordination in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need leadership at the national level. We lost two months almost now in terms of our national response,” Xinhua news agency quoted Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as saying to the Politico news outlet on Thursday.

“In terms of our national response, we have governors who are stepping up. Luckily. But now we have 50 different homegrown state solutions instead of a national response,” Melinda Gates said.

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“If we were doing the things that the exemplar countries are doing, like Germany, we would be testing, first, health care workers and then the most vulnerable, and you’d be doing contact tracing.

“And we would be able to start thinking about slowly reopening places in society in safe and healthy ways. But we have a lack of a coordinated effort. That’s just the truth, across the US.

“We should be putting far more money into testing and tracing … to where we can quarantine in the US,” she added.

Pointing to a huge need at the global level “for a vaccine, for medicines, for testing”, Melinda Gates said “more is needed for the international response, which the US really has been lacking in its response completely on the international front”.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided funding to support endeavours in combating COVID-19 globally.

It has been cooperating with national governments and international agencies such as the World Health Organization and the UNICEF in the battle against the virus.

The US currently accounts for the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world.

As of Friday, there were 1,256,972 cases in the country, while the death toll stood at 75,670, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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