There have been many people around the world criticizing the way their leaders have handled the on-going coronavirus pandemic, with the general consensus being that those in power could have done more, a lot more.
There is also increased despair at how the world leaders should have done things, with criticism being thrown at everyone seemingly by everyone.
And President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis, starting with him declaring it a hoax and seeing many bumps along the way – including his refusal to wear a face covering – has drawn a frenzy of negativity.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the latest to join in with his opinion, and Gates pulled no punches when it came to his thoughts not just on the pandemic, but on the travel bans that Trump put in place.
On January 31 Trump restricted travel from China in an attempt to keep the virus out of the country, however he did not impose any sanctions on those traveling from, or through, other areas such as Europe, until over a month later on March 11. The United Kingdom – who has had one of the highest rates of infections per capita and is currently seeing a potential second wave of infections – was not restricted until shortly afterwards.
While these measures were designed to stop the spread of Covid-19 Bill Gates believes otherwise. In an interview with Fox News, Gates has put forward the theory that the travel restrictions did little to help stem the virus and in fact believes that it actually made the number of cases increase significantly, due to the sudden return of high numbers of people without the ability to test everyone.
Speaking with Chris Wallace, Gates said, “we created this rush, and we didn’t have the ability to test or quarantine those people, and so that seeded the disease here.
“The ban probably accelerated that because of the way it was executed.”
When Wallace asked Gates to elaborate on his theories he continued, “March saw this incredible explosion, the West Coast coming from China, and the East Coast coming out of Europe.
“So even though we’d seen China, we’d seen Europe, that testing capacity and clear message of how to behave wasn’t there,” Gates continued.
When questioned about his response to the pandemic, which is continuing to infect people around the world, Trump has often highlighted his decision to restrict travel early on, stating that his fast actions – often, he claims, against his advisors advice – has helped keep the number of infections down.
His advisors and health experts have denied they had advised against this and have proven several of his claims as inaccurate. In fact, there has also been evidence to prove that the travel restrictions did little to stem the virus at all due to the lack of consistency in the rules.
Gates has regularly spoken out about healthcare issues – both at home and around the world – as well as poverty, something that has increased across the country as millions have been left without food as jobs were lost and welfare checks failed to come through in time. Gates had already released a report highlighting the fact that due to the pandemic any progress towards ending hunger and world poverty had been eliminated and that once we start to see an end to the current situation, ending world poverty will be a bigger goal to achieve.
This is just one of the many ways that his report says the health crisis has affected the world. Economies worldwide have been damaged, some beyond repair, and virtually the entire travel industry – one of the biggest sectors in the world – has collapsed as restrictions and bans continue to stay in place.
As Gates himself says, “the Covid-19 pandemic not only stopped progress, it kicked it backward.”
Since news of coronavirus first broke at the beginning of 2020 travel has been stopped between many countries and although it was believed that several nations had created ‘air-bridges’ between them with many more creating ‘safe lists’, prompting many to believe that the travel industry was starting to get back on its feet, these have been put on pause as the virus infection rate has started to grow again, particularly in the northern hemisphere where fall has just begun.
The UK had started to allow its citizens to travel to countries including Spain and France but a recent spike in cases has seen their safe list reduce significantly while the government has imposed further restrictions on the country and even threatened a second lockdown if the infection rate continues to rise.
And those hoping to rebook their canceled 2019 vacations for next year are also expected to be disappointed as many tourist areas, both in America and overseas, have started to again restrict not only who can visit them but what they can do while they are there.