Microsoft founder Bill Gates claims President Donald Trump’s executive orders in the spring banning travel into the country from countries where the novel coronavirus was spreading worsened the outbreak in the United States.
“We created this rush, and we didn’t have the ability to test or quarantine those people,” Gates said in an interview with the Fox News set to air Sunday. “And so that seeded the disease here. You know, the ban probably accelerated that, the way it was executed.”
Interviewer Chris Wallace pressed Gates about how the prohibitions made the situation worse.
“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 said.
Trump banned travel from China – where many believe the virus originated – Jan. 31, before issuing further bans from Europe and elsewhere in February and March.
Gates has defended China’s response to the virus and frequently criticized Trump.
“There’s no question the United States missed the opportunity to get ahead of the novel coronavirus,” Gates wrote in an opinion column in The Washington Post on March 31. “The choices we and our leaders make now will have an enormous impact on how soon case numbers start to go down, how long the economy remains shut down and how many Americans will have to bury a loved one because of COVID-19.”