Great Britain

Bill Gates says US in ‘BIG trouble’ over coronavirus and warns normal life won’t return until testing rapidly improves

BILL Gates warns the US will be in "big trouble" until the embattled nation can come up with widespread testing for the coronavirus.

The business magnate and billionaire said the nation should follow what South Korea did and create a "unified system."

More than 450,000 people in the US have been infected with the virus, which is still "completely mis-prioritized," according to Gates.

South Korea has seemingly weathered the storm after 10,000 people tested positive.

"The thinking is to create a website that you go in and enter your situation and it would give you a priority number, and then hopefully all the people who control the capacity limit the priority level that they accept, so they're giving these very quick results and to the right people," Gates told CNBC on Thursday.

He added that “until we have that, we're in big trouble because as a percentage of 330 million [Americans], we're not going to be able to test many people.

"We need to know that number because that deeply affects rebounds when opening up.

"And there is some data that suggests it's not a gigantic number but very, very important to pin that down.”

Gates cautioned that social distancing could not be relaxed until the thorough testing takes place.

He said during an interview with PBS earlier this week that the US may not be "completely safe" until the fall of 2021.

“The vaccine is critical, because, until you have that, things aren’t really going to be normal,” he told Judy Woodruff.

“They can open up to some degree, but the risk of a rebound will be there until we have very broad vaccination.”

The philanthropist added that the US could look to China to see where it will be down the road.

“They are sending people back to work, but they’re wearing masks," he told PBS.

"They’re checking temperatures. They’re not doing large sporting events.

"And so they have been able to avoid a large rebound."

Gates also told CNBC that "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 per cent cure rate, or broad usage of the vaccine.”

Experts have said that studying antibodies of those who have already been infected is also a crucial step.

“We are able to test about 1,000 patients a day … [but] what we would love to start doing and hopefully this will come online soon, is test people’s antibody levels against the virus,” Dr. Brian Garibaldi of Johns Hopkins told Yahoo.

That way “we can understand how much asymptomatic individuals are out there and be able to start making sure that we’re safe here, as the healthcare workforce, protecting ourselves … our families … our patients."

Gates did say he believed that schools might be able to reopen in the fall.

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