Gates Foundation to Spend Up to $100M in Battle Against COVID-19

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates told the head of TED Talks that the nation could have avoided stay-at-home orders if everybody had “taken notice back in January” and now a mandatory six to 10 weeks of isolation can’t be avoided. Gates responded to media reports that President Trump is considering ending the shutdown in 15 days.

“There’s the period between where we realized it was transmitting and now where we should’ve done more,” Gates said during a video discussion with Chris Anderson of TED, the non-profit organization that hosts talks and online communities. “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 some politician that thinks GDP growth is what counts,’” Gates said. “It’s hard to tell people during an epidemic … that they should go about things knowing their activity is spreading this disease.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged up to $100 million to fight COVID-19, while also giving $5 million to help Washington state deal with the crisis, according to a story on

Gates said on Tuesday that the U.S. needs to speed up COVID-19 testing.

“We can figure out which antiviral drugs work within two or three weeks and get those scaled up and we can make the vaccine if we’re really ready probably in six months,” Gates said.

In 2015, Gates gave a TED Talk about the the potential of a global pandemic occurring, called  “The next outbreak? We’re not ready.” It was viewed more than 16 million times on YouTube, but according to Gates, “We hardly did anything” to prevent it.

Gates answered questions on the coronavirus on Reddit last week, according to a story on

The philanthropist left the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway this month to focus on the foundation he operates with his wife to address global health issues.

Bill Gates: The healthcare systems we must urgently fix

We’re live with Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist and TED speaker, to talk about the healthcare systems in dire need of fixing. Ask him your questions in the comments! #TEDConnects

Posted by TED on Tuesday, March 24, 2020