‘No Time to Waste’: Bill Gates Outlines Actions to Combat Coronavirus
While governments and citizens across the globe prepare and react in assorted way to various stages of the coronavirus pandemic, Bill Gates says there "is no time to waste" and a number of things should be happening immediately to deal with the crisis. And steps should be taken to be ready for the next one.
In a new post on his GatesNotes blog — "How to respond to COVID-19" — the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist writes that saving lives now is obviously the more pressing issue, but improving the way the world responds to an outbreak has longterm consequences.
"In the past week, COVID-19 has started to behave a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we've been worried about," Gates wrote. "I hope it's not that bad, but we should assume that it will be until we know otherwise."
In outlining steps that local, state and national governments should be taking right now, Gates said donor governments should be helping low- and middle-income countries prepare, and work on treatments and vaccines should be accelerated.
But larger systemic changes are needed so that the global community can respond "more efficiently and effectively when the next epidemic arrives," he said. Here are some key points Gates makes:
- It's essential to help low- and middle-income countries strengthen their primary health care systems.
- The world needs to invest in disease surveillance, including a case database that is instantly accessible to the relevant organizations and rules that require countries to share their information.
- We need to build a system that can develop safe and effective vaccines and antivirals, get them approved, and deliver billions of doses within a few months of the discovery of a fast-moving pathogen.
- In addition to technical solutions, diplomatic efforts are needed to drive international collaboration and data sharing.
- Budgets for these efforts need to be expanded several times over.
- Governments and industry will need to come to an agreement: During a pandemic, vaccines and antivirals won't simply be sold to the highest bidder. They'll be available and affordable for people who are at the heart of the outbreak and in greatest need.
Earlier this month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed up to $100 million for the global response to coronavirus to help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
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It's never been a better time to "murder your thirst."
Seven months after raising more than $9 million in Series A funding, Santa Monica-based canned water startup Liquid Death has raised $23 million in Series B funding.
The round was led by an unnamed consumer-focused family office and participated in by Convivialité Ventures, Fat Mike (NOFX), Pat McAfee, existing investor in Velvet Sea Ventures and others.
'It Felt Like a Black Mirror Episode' The Inside Account of How Bird Laid off 406 People in Two Minutes via a Zoom Webinar
Last Friday morning, 406 Bird employees – who had been working from home for two weeks because of the coronavirus and bleary-eyed from putting in longer than usual days in an unprecedented effort to rapidly wind down global operations in cities around the world – received a generic-sounding Zoom webinar invitation titled "COVID-19 Update."
Travis VanderZanden, 41, a former top Uber executive who founded Bird only three years ago, had abruptly cancelled the previous Thursday's regular biweekly all-hands meeting, referred to internally as Birdfams. He had not addressed Bird's thousand-plus employees since they were forced to leave their offices, so most employees assumed he was giving an update on the company's response to the worsening global pandemic.
But some grew suspicious when they noticed the guest list and host were hidden and they learned only some colleagues were included. It was also unusual they were being invited to a Zoom webinar, allowing no participation, rather than the free-flowing meeting function the company normally uses. Over the next hour, employees traded frantic messages on Slack and searched coworkers' calendars to see who was unfortunate enough to be invited.
"It should go down as a poster child of how not to lay people off, especially at a time like this," said one employee.
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