Bill Gates takes the FDA and CDC to task over how poorly these agencies have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Gates expressed his displeasure with FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, especially after he publicly touted the benefits of blood plasma as a viable treatment for COVID-19 by incorrectly assessing the findings in a Mayo Clinic study. "Historically, just like the CDC was viewed as the best in the world, the FDA had that same reputation as a top-notch regulator," he said. "But there's been some cracks with some of the things they've said at the commissioner level."
“Many of you know I was a cancer doctor before I became FDA commissioner, and a 35 percent improvement in survival is a pretty substantial clinical benefit,” Hahn said at the time, before walking back his remarks one day later. "This is third grade math. I mean, are you kidding?" Gates said. "The head of the FDA got up and said it was a 35 percent death reduction where it’s not even a three percent reduction based on just a tiny little subset that was non-statistical. This is unheard of."
While Gates attributes Hahn’s inaccurate statement to being pressured into making optimistic remarks, the FDA lost a lot of credibility in his eyes. His waning belief in the FDA and CDC leads one to question how confident he feels in the efficacy of a vaccine that Trump wants to push out prior to the election.
Gates still believes that the companies who vowed to put safety ahead of speed when creating a vaccine will live up to their word. Even though Gates appreciates the money that Trump administration put into creating a vaccine, he still doesn’t think they contributed enough to address the needs of developing countries.
From the unnecessarily long waiting time to get results of a COVID-19 test to the method at which they’re being done, to the CDC rewriting their guidelines for when someone should get tested Gates cannot understand how the U.S. failed so miserably in their response to this pandemic. "You know, this has been a mismanaged situation every step of the way," he said. "It's shocking. It's unbelievable — the fact that we would be among the worst in the world."
Watch Gates' interview up top.