- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2020

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been as successful as other countries due, in part, to our country’s value of individual rights.

The billionaire philanthropist, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a major partner with the World Health Organization, told The Economist during an interview Wednesday that the damage the pandemic has done to the U.S. economy and public health is “far greater than I ever would have expected with a virus like this.”

Part of the reason, Mr. Gates explained, is because Americans are inherently resistant to forced compliance.

“We believe in freedom, individual freedom. We optimize for individual rights,” he said.

Mr. Gates said the lockdowns were such a “novel idea” that Americans probably should have “practiced” for.

“It’s interesting that actually Asia, where the thing started, overall has done better than you would have expected,” he said. “[China] clearly made mistakes. There were warning signs, people were talking about it, they didn’t go after it in the month of December or even parts of January.

“In retrospect, they could have rung the alarm bell more loudly then they did,” Mr. Gates continued. “After that, although in their typical fairly authoritarian way, they did a very good job at suppressing the virus. There may have been a lot of individual rights that were violated there, but the overall macro effect that they achieved is kind of amazing.”

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