In December 2016, Bill Gates warned President Donald Trump of the threat posed by pandemics to the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
In a meeting at Trump Tower with the then president-elect, Gates discussed the dangers of infectious disease and urged Trump to prioritize the country’s readiness efforts – advice he personally gave to d ” other 2016 presidential candidates as well, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gates’ argument for more investments in public health was not new at that time either. In a TED 2015 conference, Gates said that viruses pose the “greatest risk of global disaster” compared to other threats.
“If something kills more than 10 million people in the next few decades, it is most likely a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes, “Gates said in the speech, adding that countries have spent considerable sums on avoiding nuclear war, but practically nothing on” systems to stop the epidemics. “
Despite his efforts with the public and government officials, Gates told the Wall Street Journal, “I wish I could have done more to draw attention to the danger.”
Microsoft’s philanthropist and co-founding charity, the Gates Foundation, has committed more than $ 300 million to fund relief efforts against coronaviruses.
Gates was not alone in fear of infectious diseases – public health officials, the American intelligence community and officials of the outgoing Obama administration have all tried to draw attention to the threat.
Trump has come under heavy criticism for his actions before the coronavirus pandemic, including cut-off agencies and government programs responsible for detecting and responding to outbreaks and ignoring multiple warnings of a potential outbreak, as well as publicly downplaying the threat posed by COVID-19 even after it had spread widely in the United States and botched the country’s rapid response.
The United States has become the center of the pandemic, with more than 1.3 million confirmed cases and nearly 80,000 deaths.