Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates stated in a recent interview that he thinks schools in the United States will be able to reopen in the fall but that the U.S. economy won’t magically return to how it was before the coronavirus pandemic.
CNBC reports that Bill Gates stated during a recent interview that he believes that schools in the United States may be able to resume in the fall but that the economy will not recover as fast as many expect from the coronavirus pandemic.
“I do think school will be able to resume in the fall,” Gates said. “But I don’t think this school year there’s going to be any significant attendance. You know, maybe in the summer, people will do something special. But that would be very hard to do.”
Many schools have allowed students to take classes remotely via the internet but Gates noted that many students don’ have the computers or internet connections necessary for remote learning.
“Most of the private schools, they’re used to online, they’ve made sure all their students have the device and the connectivity,” he added. “Different school districts have decided some don’t do online learning because it would be unjust in terms of the kids who don’t have access. And so that’s really a dilemma. There are philanthropists — Ray Dalio, Jeff Bezos and many others — who are trying to fill that gap, you know, get some devices and connectivity out there.”
Gates stated that the U.S. may be able to open back up at the end of May but before a vaccine for the coronavirus is available, countries would have to determine which industries would be allowed to resume. Gates suggested that manufacturing and construction industries may be able to resume operations, and possibly education.
“I don’t think going to big, say, public sports-type events, that the economic benefit relative to the risks, that will work out until we’re back in normal times,” he said. Gates pointed to businesses in China and South Korea returning to normal as an example.
“How do you draw that line for that period that’s going to be longer than we want it to be?” Gates said. “That — eventually, the government’s going to have to take all the expert input and create a new regime for what’s going on that’s extremely sensitive to how well it’s working through the quick-turnaround, prioritized testing.”
Discussing the economy, Gates stated: “The behavior of people in terms of wanting to travel or go to events or even go to a restaurant, it’s been utterly changed by the concerns about this disease. No one should think the government can wave a wand and all of a sudden the economy is anything like it was before this happened. That awaits either a miracle therapeutic that has an over 95% cure rate, or broad usage of the vaccine.”
Discussing the production of a vaccine for the coronavirus, Gates stated: “There’s an approach called RNA vaccine that people like Moderna, CureVac and others are using, that in 2015 we’d identified as very promising for pandemics and for other applications as well. And so if everything goes perfectly with the RNA approach, we could actually beat the 18 months.”
He did not, however, that vaccines aren’t a perfect solution especially for older patients: “We don’t want to create unrealistic expectations. The efficacy of vaccines in older people is always a huge challenge. You know, it turns out the flu vaccine isn’t that effective in elderly people. Most of the benefit comes from younger people not spreading it because they’re vaccinated.”
Read more at CNBC here.
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