Bill Gates is Angry
Steven Levy interviewed Bill Gates for Wired, and it is quite an illuminating conversation. In past public appearances, Gates – like most experts – has attempted to walk the line between antagonizing the Trump administration and promulgating real science. But now he appears to be finished with that nonsense. He almost sounds angry.
On the CDC, which has been conspicuously absent during this pandemic:
You would expect the CDC to be the most visible, not the White House or even Anthony Fauci. But they haven’t been the face of the epidemic. They are trained to communicate and not try to panic people but get people to take things seriously. They have basically been muzzled since the beginning. We called the CDC, but they told us we had to talk to the White House a bunch of times. Now they say, “Look, we’re doing a great job on testing, we don’t want to talk to you.” Even the simplest things, which would greatly improve this system, they feel would be admitting there is some imperfection and so they are not interested.
When asked more directly about politics, he makes his opinion of Trump pretty clear:
Whoever gets elected in the US, we are going to want to work with them. We do care a lot about competence, and hopefully voters will take into account how this administration has done at picking competent people and should that weigh into their vote.
The most frustrating thing about the way this pandemic has unfolded in the United States hasn’t been the rapidly rising raw case numbers or even the death count, because those numbers are trailing indicators of response effectiveness. The tragedy of this pandemic is that the scientists who know what they are talking about – including teams of doctors who have been muzzled at the CDC, epidemiologists in academia, and public figures like Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci – have been self-censoring to ensure they maintain good favor and access within the Trump administration. It is absurd and painful to watch such intelligent people avoid direct questions about epidemiological facts simply because they are inconvenient for the federal government and Donald Trump. It is a disservice to the people of this country and of the world to mutate facts in order to serve an agenda they don’t even believe in.
So it is nice to see Bill Gates finally giving up on placating Trump, and directly placing blame where it belongs, while exposing his anger at the failures of the federal government. I hope he continues, and that others join him.
In the long run, in the fight between public health science and politics, science will always win. There is no moral justification for an expert to give up on or distort science just to be in the room with the President – this government has shown that being in the room doesn’t really account for much at all.