Melinda Gates gives Trump a 'D-minus' for coronavirus response, blames his lack of leadership for lives lost
Melinda Gates has criticized the Trump administration over its response to the coronavirus pandemic in the US and said the country should have learned from the likes of Germany in how to handle the outbreak.
Melinda, who along with husband Bill Gates co-founded The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the second-biggest donor to the UN, cited the lack of a coordinated national response and said she would grade the administration a paltry 'D-minus.'
The US currently has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, with over 1.25 million testing positive for the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University live-tracker. Furthermore, more than 75,000 fatalities have already been reported, surpassing Trump's February estimate of 60,000 deaths by some margin.
Melinda told Politico in an interview that one of the reasons behind the poor response was governors stepping up with "50 different homegrown state solutions" instead of a planned directive coming in from the top.
"You know, if we were doing the things that the exemplar countries are doing, like Germany, we would be testing," she said. "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, 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 United States."
She added that organizations across the US should be looking to fund vaccine development, highlighting how European leaders' fundraising efforts this week brought in $7.4 billion for vaccine research.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already announced it would be joining forces with Wellcome and Mastercard to respond to the epidemic. The organization said it had earmarked $125 million in both new funding and money that would be used to identify potential treatments for Covid-19, accelerate their development, and prepare for the manufacture of millions of doses for use worldwide in a project dubbed "COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator."
It also donated an additional $150 million to help with testing, treatment, and helping poor countries develop a response to the pandemic in April.
Melinda criticized the administration for "lacking in its response" on the international stage and warned that ignoring food insecurity and other health issues in Africa could prove a costly mistake.
"What we’re just beginning to see in Africa, you’re going to see a lot more food insecurity there and a lot more health issues," she said. "And when you have that there, it also bounces back into Europe, into the United States. So far, more is needed for the international response, which the U.S. really has been lacking in its response completely on the international front."
She had previously revealed how she and her husband had stored food in their basement years ago in anticipation that a pandemic like this one was going to afflict humanity.
Speaking to BBC Radio Live, Melinda told host Emma Barnett, "A number of years ago, we had talked about, 'What if there wasn’t clean water? What if there wasn’t enough food? Where might we go? What might we do as a family?'"
"So, I think we should leave those preparations to ourselves. But absolutely, we had prepared and had some food in the basement in case needed, and now we’re all in the same situation. There are no tools. There is nothing we could do specifically to prepare ourselves with a particular drug or vaccine."