Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, struck a sobering tone during an interview on Sunday and while he expressed optimism about coronavirus vaccines, he mentioned that a lot of parts need to move correctly in order for the U.S. to reach some level of normalcy.
Gates is an influential voice on the pandemic and co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute.
Jake Tapper, the CNN host, mentioned the lockdown orders in states like California and the hardships that many businesses face across the country. Health officials insist that these lockdowns are needed due to the risk of hospitals potentially being inundated with patients.
“Bars and restaurants—in most of the country—will be closed as we go into this wave, and I think, sadly, that’s appropriate,” Gates said.
He said the next four to six months “really call on us to do our best, because we can see that this will end and you don’t want somebody that you love to be the last to die from coronavirus.”
Gates was asked when he believes the U.S. will regain some sense of pre-coronavirus life, and he said by late summer, the U.S. will be closer to normal than at the moment.
“But even through early 2022, unless we help other countries get rid of this disease, and we get high vaccination rates in our country, the risk of reintroduction will be there and, of course, the global economy will be slowed down, which hurts America economically in a pretty dramatic way,” he said.
Some on social media said Gates seemed out of touch when it came to the severity of the crisis when it came to the dire financial stress faced by restaurants.
Richard Grenell, President Trump’s former acting director of National Intelligence, tweeted, “Both have large paychecks.”