Bill Gates defends China’s coronavirus response

Microsoft co-founder pushed back against criticism of China, calling the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic particularly poor compared to others.

Philanthropist and Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates gestures as he speaks to the audience during the Global Fund to Fight AIDS event at the Lyon's congress hall, central France, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. French President Emmanuel Macron said the conference of the Global Fund to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria raised at least $13.92 billion for the next three years. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates pushed back against criticism of China in a CNN interview on Sunday, stressing that the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly poor compared to others.

Bill Gates described the criticism of China over the coronavirus outbreak as a “distraction” by the Republicans who have accused China of not being transparent about the origins of the virus.

“China did a lot of things right at the beginning, like any country where a virus first shows up,” he told CNN. “They can look back and say where they missed some things.”

Gates, whose foundation is the second largest donor to WHO behind the United States, also called World Health Organization a “phenomenal” agency amid the U.S. plans to halt funding to the UN-run global agency responsible for international public health.

“In the retrospective, we’ll see things that WHO could have done better, just like every actor in this whole picture,” he said. “But the WHO has a strong connection with one country. That country is the United States.”

He continued: “The number of CDC people who are there, people who used to work for the CDC, there’s no UN agency more connected to a country than WHO is to CDC.”

As of Sunday, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 928,619 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 32,853 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 2,020 to 52,459.