Bill Gates calls for nationwide shut down to beat COVID-19

indica News Bureau-

Microsoft founder Bill Gates who recently stepped down from the board of directors of the company, on Thursday warned the nation against coronavirus and called for a complete shut-down to flatten the curve of infection.

Gates said that “there is no middle ground” in the fight against the novel coronavirus, adding that there is a need for coordinated effort to effectively shut down normal life across the United States to stop the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the long-term economic impact, reported GeekWire.

Answering questions from Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN, Gates said the US won’t be in a position to return to regular life by Easter Sunday.  “No, it’s not realistic,” Gates said. “The numbers are still going up.” President Donald Trump had earlier said that life in US will be back to normal by Easter Sunday, April 12.

Gates on the other hand said that the country needs to go much further with a longer, coordinate shutdown to effectively turn back the spread of the disease.

“We’re entering to a tough period that if we do it right we’ll only have to do it once, for six to 10 weeks. It has to be the whole country,” Gates said. “We have to raise the level of testing and the prioritization of that testing quite dramatically in order to make sure we go through one shutdown so that we take the medical problem and really stop it before there’s a large number of deaths.”

Gates, in 2015 had warned US of a pandemic suggesting that if left unchecked, it may result in more than 10 million deaths. He has also been asking for more aggressive action to tackle the issue.

“This is kind of the nightmare scenario,” he said, adding that he “wouldn’t have predicted exactly how slow and somewhat chaotic the response has been.”

Gates acknowledged the “gigantic price” of shutting down the country and its effect on the economy, but said the alternative is worse.

“We do then get an economic problem which is why you want to minimize the amount of time. Having states go at different things or thinking you can do it county-by-county, that will not work. The cases will be exponentially growing anywhere you don’t have a serious shutdown,” he said, adding later, “Basically the whole country needs to do what was done in the part of China where they had these infections.”

The good news, he said, is that China’s shutdown has allowed the country to move past the disease.