Billionaire Bill Gates advocated during a CNN interview on Sunday for keeping bars and restaurants closed for months as coronavirus cases and deaths have increased in recent weeks.
Gates, who is worth $118.8 billion and is one of the top-4 richest people in the world, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he thinks it’s “appropriate” for bars and restaurants “in most of the country” to be closed.
“More than 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently or long-term across the country as the industry grapples with the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bloomberg News reported. “The industry has pleaded for aid, with many pinning their hopes on the Restaurants Act, which would establish a $120 billion fund to help restaurants, as well as a second draw of the Paycheck Protection Program.”
“Well, certainly, mask-wearing has essentially no downside. They’re not expensive,” Gates told Tapper. “Bars and restaurants in most of the country will be closed as we go into this wave. And I think, sadly, that’s appropriate. Depending on how severe it is, the decision about schools is much more complicated, because, there, the benefits are pretty high, the amount of transmission is not the same as in restaurants and bars.”
He continued, “So, trade-offs will have to be made. But this — 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 you love to be the last to die of coronavirus.”
When asked when life will be getting back to normal, Gates claimed, “Certainly by the summer, [we’ll] be way closer to normal than we are now.”
“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 continued. “So, we’ll have, starting in the summer, about nine months where a few things, like big public gatherings, will still be restricted. But we can see now that, somewhere between 12 to 18 months, we have a chance, if we manage it well, to get back to normal.”
Gates stepped down from Microsoft earlier this year to “dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change.” Microsoft’s stock was worth $158.83 per share on the day that Gates made the announcement in March. Today, Microsoft’s stock is worth $213.26 per share.
“Microsoft Corp. expects the pandemic-era surge in demand for cloud-computing services, videogaming and computers that delivered a solid quarter to persist at least through the rest of the year,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The software company on Tuesday said sales rose 12% to $37.2 billion, generating a net profit of $13.9 billion in the first quarter of its fiscal year.”
“Mr. Gates remains one of the largest individual shareholders of Microsoft,” The New York Times added. “As of December, he held more than 100 million shares of Microsoft, roughly 1.3 percent of the company’s shares.”
.@BillGates on Covid: "Even through 2022” we should be prepared for life to not return to “normal”
Says “sadly" it’s "appropriate” for bars and restaurants to close over the next "four to six months" pic.twitter.com/cmDD8pv3XR
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 13, 2020