Bill Gates tells Chris Wallace Trump’s travel ban made coronavirus ‘worse, not better’

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates appeared to dispute claims that President Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China helped contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The billionaire philanthropist suggested that the travel ban and the way it was conducted may have actually made things worse, explaining in a “Fox News Sunday” interview with Chris Wallace that testing and quarantine guidelines were not yet put in place when the ban was implemented.


Once the coronavirus broke out in Wuhan, the president issued an executive order on Jan. 31 restricting travel from China effective February 2, 2020. He followed up in March, issuing an order on travel from Europe and other countries that were experiencing coronavirus outbreaks.

Trump has frequently referred to the restrictions as examples of the decisive moves made by the administration to stem the spread of the pandemic, notably the early ban on China travel just as the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency.

But travelers overseas rushing back to the U.S. may have exacerbated the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Gates.


(Source: Fox News)

“We created this rush, and we didn’t have the ability to test or quarantine those people,” Gates told the “Fox News Sunday” anchor in a preview clip from an interview set to air on Sunday.

“And so that seeded the disease here. You know, the ban probably accelerated that, the way it was executed,” he added.

Wallace interjected to clarify the billionaire’s remark.

“You’re saying that the travel bans made the situation worse, not better?” he asked.

“March saw this incredible explosion — the West Coast coming from China and then the East Coast coming out of Europe, and so, even though we’d seen China and we’d seen Europe, that testing capacity and clear message of how to behave wasn’t there,” Gates replied.

Back in an April appearance on “Fox News Sunday” with Wallace, Gates called the pandemic a “nightmare scenario” adding, “It is fair to say things won’t go back to truly normal until we have a vaccine that we’ve gotten out to basically the entire world.

Gates has previously been vocal in his criticisms of how the pandemic has been handled, telling Stat News this week that the response and the status of the U.S. in the world was “shocking.”

“You know, this has been a mismanaged situation every step of the way,” he said. “It’s shocking. It’s unbelievable — the fact that we would be among the worst in the world.”

Back in July, Gates contended that “serious mistakes were made” in handling the outbreak, in an interview with CBS News.

“We actually had criteria for opening up that said you had to have cases declining and we opened up with cases increasing,” he said at the time, expressing frustration with reopenings and mask compliance. “We somehow got masks as this politicized thing … and some like, harbinger of freedom, that just covering your mouth was awful.”

He also had harsh words for Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn this week, in an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg Television.

“We saw with the completely bungled plasma statements that when you start pressuring people to say optimistic things, they go completely off the rails. The FDA lost a lot of credibility there,” Gates said.

The Microsoft founder’s contention that the president’s travel restrictions “seeded” the disease in the U.S. and made the pandemic worse was slammed by many on Twitter.

 

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Frieda Powers

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