Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
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  • Bill Gates told CNN on Thursday that the US is "not even close" to doing enough to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Gates also dismissed Donald Trump's recent claim that cases are rising because of increased testing as "completely false."
  • The US cannot afford complacency ahead of the fall, when rates of transmission are likely to increase, he added.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Bill Gates thinks the US is falling well behind in its response to the coronavirus.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday, the Microsoft billionaire said the US is "not even close" to doing enough to fight the virus.

"The United States has had a tough time. We're not as tough on contact tracing or enforcing quarantine, and the compliance with mask wearing in the US is far less than particularly in the countries in Asia," Gates said.

The US has reported more than 2.3 million Covid-19 infections and more than 122,000 deaths. On Wednesday, June 26, more than 36,000 new cases were confirmed - just shy of the 36,426 cases recorded on April 24, which remains the highest single-day total.

"The global picture and the picture in the US are both more bleak than I would have expected," Gates said. He also dismissed Donald Trump's June 23 claim that cases are surging because the US is testing more people as "completely false." Epidemiologists have also said increased testing doesn't account for US spikes in transmission.

Gates added that the US can't afford complacency once summer is over. "May would have been a lot worse if the virus wasn't somewhat seasonal, and so we know now that we're benefiting from the summer. And so force of infection will get worse in the fall so all the more reason not to get completely lax in our behavior." Recent research suggests the rate of infection will slow during the summer, but experts have cautioned that warm weather won't stop the virus from spreading.

Gates said the "range of behaviors" in response to the crisis - some people being cautious, others "basically ignoring" the pandemic - is "huge."

"Some people almost feel like it's a political thing which is unfortunate," he said.

Gates has pledged $250 million towards fighting the virus through his philanthropic arm the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has historically specialized in infectious diseases response.

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