Bill Gates has called for a “consistent nationwide approach to shutting down” to combat the spread of the coronavirus, arguing that at least 10 more weeks of national shutdown are required to minimize the effects of the epidemic.
In a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday, Gates criticized the fact that some states have not yet ordered restrictive stay-at-home orders.
California was the first state to order residents to stay home in mid-March, and such orders now apply to nine in 10 US residents. But five states still haven’t ordered residents to stay home, and seven states have orders in place only for certain regions.
“Any confusion about this point will only extend the economic pain, raise the odds that the virus will return, and cause more deaths,” Gates said.
To curb the spread of the virus, Gates argues, the US will also have to rapidly speed up testing while prioritizing healthcare workers. Gates praised New York state, which has recently ramped up to more than 20,000 tests a day.
Finally, Gates called for a “data-based approach” to rapidly developing a vaccine. He believes we could have one in less than 18 months, which he said would be the fastest a vaccine has ever been developed, but also said that the federal government, not private companies, must lead the charge.