Last Updated on March 31, 2020
Bill Gates calls President Trump’s projection for the end of coronavirus lockdown “irresponsible.” Gates believes that up to 10 weeks of “extreme shutdown” is what will help Americans manage the spread of coronavirus.
“It’s very irresponsible for somebody to suggest we can have the best of both worlds,” the Microsoft co-founder said in an interview with TED on Tuesday. “What we need is an extreme shutdown so that in six to 10 weeks, if things go well, then you can start opening back up.”
Gates admits that the effects of this “extreme shutdown” are “disastrous” for the economy, but maintains that “the sooner you do it in a tough way, the sooner you can undo it.” Contradictory to President Trump, Gates maintained that a longer shut down might damage the economy, but the sooner we accept this lockdown, he sooner we will be able to rectify the damage.
“We can’t say for sure that even the rich countries will be out of this in six to 10 weeks… the developing countries will bear a significant price,” says Gates regarding the economic downfalls of coronavirus. “Two to three years from now, this thing, even on a global basis, will essentially be over with a gigantic price tag.”
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the global economic activity to a sudden stop. The global economy is heavily effected due to mandatory closures of businesses, limited hours and service, record high job losses, and social distancing.
“[Sudden stops] are normally experienced by fragile states or by a community hit by a natural disaster, where everything comes to a stop,”says Allianz’s Mohamed El-Erian. “They’ve never been felt at a level of a country as systemically important as China or the U.S., or Europe. And they’ve certainly never been felt at the level of global economy. So this is unprecedented.”
President Trump expresses concerns that the U.S. economy “wasn’t built to be shut down.” The hard work that the president has put into making our economy strong has been devastated by the impacts of lockdown protocols.
“This is not a country that was built for this. America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting.”
President Trump extended federal social distancing guidelines from Easter Sunday to April 30th in an announcement during the March 29th press briefing on coronavirus.
If there is no further extension to the federal lockdown protocols, President trump expresses that those who are healthy should return to their jobs after April 30th while those who are still sick should stay at home and remain isolated.
Those who oppose Trump, including Gates, agree about prioritizing shutdowns on the advice of medical professionals. This is including the former Nato Supreme Allied Commander, James Stavridis.
During a recent appearance on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade, Stavridis agrees with the perspective shared by Gates regarding shutdowns and “once you’ve done that, then it’s perfectly appropriate to listen to the economic side.”
Gates believes, “there really is no middle ground.”
“It’s very tough to say to people: ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner. We want you to keep spending because there’s maybe a politician who thinks GDP growth is all that counts,” says Gates.
“It’s very hard to tell people when there’s an epidemic spreading… that they should go about things, knowing that their activity is spreading this disease.”