‘Ignore that pile of bodies’: Bill Gates slams Trump’s plan to favor GDP growth over American lives

  • 03/25/2020 5:45 pm ET Sabrina Matthews
'Ignore that pile of bodies': Bill Gates slams Trump's plan to favor GDP growth over American lives


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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates joined health experts and government officials Tuesday in condemning Donald Trump’s latest proclamation. The President now thinks that businesses should aim to be open by Easter, but according to Gates, “The US is past the opportunity to control (COVID-19) without shutdown.”

Gates pointed out that Trump’s approach would spread the coronavirus unchecked, cause more deaths, and further cripple an already struggling healthcare system.

‘Ignore that pile of bodies’

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Rather than tell US citizens, “ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner, we want you to keep spending because there’s some politician that thinks GDP growth is what counts,”  Gates suggested an extended shutdown of up to ten weeks, according to a CNBC report.

While he admits that nationwide self-isolation will likely be a “disastrous” blow to the US economy, Gates does not see any other choice. “We did not act fast enough to have an ability to avoid the shutdown.”

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Flickr/The White House

Trump missed the opportunity to protect the US health and economy from COVID-19 in January, which Gates says was “when everybody should have been on notice.”

Gates went on to call for increased ability to test for the coronavirus in his TED Connects online broadcast, saying that testing, “has got to be organized, has got to be prioritized. That is super, super urgent.”

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Through his foundation, Bill Gates has a lot of experience combating the spread of infectious diseases. He doesn’t think the President’s Easter timeline is reasonable. “In the Chinese case, it was like six weeks, so we have to prepare ourselves for that and do it very well,” Gates said.

Dr. Tina Tan, a board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a staff member at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, put it more bluntly: “Obviously Trump is not rooted in reality.”

Gates isn’t the only one with criticism

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Even Fox News has been critical of Trump’s behavior. When news broke about China’s attempts to combat the coronavirus, Trump busied himself spouting a string of dangerous lies, shifting blame away from himself, and talking up financial markets.

Sadly, that was his opportunity to push for aggressive—or any—testing, promote consistent health messaging, and expand hospitals’ capacity to respond.

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