Bill Gates on Reddit, takes questions on CoViD-19
As his tweet says, Bill Gates is on Reddit to answer public questions on the novel CoViD-19 coronavirus pandemic, and his answers explore a wide variety of themes. In the introduction, Gates points to past experience with diseases like influenza, and Ebola — with emphasis on how epidemics start, how to stop them early, and what should be done to counteract their rapid transformation into a devastating outbreak.
Gates was joined by Dr. Trevor Mundel, leader of the Gates Foundation's global health work, and also Gates' Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr. Niranjan Bose.
Of course, this is an AMA, so naturally, Gates invited all questions about the CoViD-19 coronavirus, but he also asked for questions about pandemics more generally.
One user called UofEM asks: "What about the current crisis worries you the most? What gives you the most hope?" Gates said the current phase of the novel coronavirus has "a lot of the cases in rich countries." He argues that right actions like testing and social distancing (which he calls "shut down") will help "rich countries" move beyond high levels of infection in two to three months.
"I worry about all the economic damage but even worse will be how this will affect the developing countries who cannot do the social distancing the same way as rich countries and whose hospital capacity is much lower."
This comes on the heels of the billionaire's philanthropy organization — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — announcing a $125 million fund, called the "COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator," intended to speed up the interdisciplinary push to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. However, in the Reddit AMA, Gates places the fund at $100 million, plus $5 million for his home state of Washington; a full $20 million less than stated when the accelerator launched.
Education, self-isolation during CoViD-19 coronavirus
Another user, "nomsforall," writes: "As an educator, what is something I can do for my students, especially for my low-income students who don't have access to technology during this time? I have tried to send reassuring emails (including cat pictures), but I worry about the educational impact, as well as the long-term impact to my students' well being."
Gates replies: "It is a huge problem that schools will likely be shut down for the next few months. I am impressed by the creative approaches that many teachers are coming up with to teach remotely. (If you are a teacher reading this, thank you for the work you're doing.) But I know that not everyone is set up to teach remotely." He lists online resources for teaching, including CommonLit, Zearn, Khan Academy, Illustrative Mathematics, and Scholastic.
With the CoViD-19 coronavirus has influencers and billionaires of every industry pulling every stop, the endless flow of information contrasts heavily with many who are self-quarantining to "lower the curve" of infection for the pandemic. While everyone works for the best possible outcome, be sure to check-in here for the latest on developing news on the coronavirus outbreak.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article referred to Bill Gates as the "CEO of Microsoft." Gates has not held this position for a long time. The error has since been corrected. IE regrets this error.