April 28, 2018
Should a deadly pandemic comparable to the 1918 influenza outbreak reach the US in the relatively near future, the US government would be powerless to stop it. And in all likelihood, hundreds of thousands – if not, millions – of Americans will die. That’s the message from a Washington Post interview with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, which touched on many of the same subjects from a talk he gave Friday before the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Bill Gates says the U.S. government is falling short in preparing the nation and the world for the “significant probability of a large and lethal modern-day pandemic occurring in our lifetimes.”
Gates discussed his efforts to convince the Trump administration to set aside more funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to prioritize the creation of a national response plan that would govern how resources are deployed during a pandemic or biological weapons attack.
During the interview, the billionaire who appears to have gotten such a touch eccentric in his gray years, confirmed that he had raised the issue of pandemic preparedness with President Trump, and that he tried to convince the president that he has a chance to lead on the issue of global health security.
According to Gates, Trump told him to raise these issues with officials at the Health and Human Services Department, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. Gates said he also met with HR McMaster, who was ousted as National Security Advisor last month, and he hopes to meet with McMaster’s successor John Bolton. He is probably the only one.
That said, Gates may have a point: Even this winter’s flu season – the worst in years – overwhelmed hospitals, some of which were forced to pitch tents outside the facilities and deploy other emergency accommodations.
Gates, whose Gates Foundation focuses…