Bill Gates: Millions more will die in this pandemic and ‘freedom’ hinders disappointing US response

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Nearly 800,000 people worldwide have already died from COVID-19, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University and Microsoft MSFT,
+ 2,32%
Co-founder Bill Gates predicts that “the worst is yet to come” and that the death toll will eventually increase by millions.
Emerging markets, where healthcare systems and economies are already struggling, are where the pain will be most pronounced, he explained in a recent interview with The Economist.

But the United States faces its own unique set of problems, as politics and conspiracy theories contributed to what he said was a disappointing response. Why? In the name of freedom.

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“We believe in freedom, individual freedom. We optimize individual rights. “
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According to Gates, Trump supporters have shown “freedom” to make a political statement that continues to complicate the US response to the pandemic. Refusing to wear a mask, for example, is one way for them to signal their anger and resistance.

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Will that change if Joe Biden wins the presidency? Don’t count on it.
“I don’t think a change in administrations will cause people to wear masks,” Gates said. “It’s hard to see how we build this network of trust and improve our behavior. It will be mostly progressive. “
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It’s more than that, however. Gates explained that the United States was unprepared from the start, as testing efforts took a long time to have an impact once the virus began to spread.
China, on the other hand, “has done a very good job of suppressing the virus,” in part thanks to the “typical, quite authoritarian” approach and “individual rights violated,” he said.
The good news is that Gates is hoping the pandemic is over by the end of 2021, as a reasonably effective vaccine is expected to be mass-produced by then. Of all the applicants, he said he believed AstraZeneca AZN,
+ 0,46%
is the most advanced.
Watch the full 42-minute interview, which was posted on Wednesday:

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