Bill Gates says U.S. government can’t ‘wave a wand’ and ‘all of a sudden the economy is anything like it was before’ the coronavirus pandemic

‘No one should think the government can wave a wand an all of sudden the economy is anything like it was before this happened.’ 

— Bill Gates

That is billionaire Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft

and noted philanthropist during a 26-minute interview on CNBC on Thursday.

Gates, who boasts a net worth of $103.4 billion, according to Forbes (making him the second wealthiest man in the world behind’s

Jeff Bezos) has been one of the most vocal critics of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged the domestic economy and brought most of the world’s business and personal activity to a screeching halt.

In a March 31 op-ed in the Washington Post, the tech luminary advised more stringent closures to mitigate the spread of the deadly viral outbreak, saying “shutdown anywhere means shutdown everywhere.”

However, the stock market has mostly been attempting to shrug off worries about COVID-19, which has infected 1.5 million people world-wide and claimed nearly 90,000 lives, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 400 points Thursday, with the S&P 500 index

and the Nasdaq Composite

also showing strong gains, as investors ignored an ugly report on jobless claims for the week ended April 4 and focused on the Federal Reserve’s $2.3 trillion program to help funnel money to key parts of the economy that has been hard-hit by the response to the epidemic.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $100 million to pandemic science and testing. Gates is among a group of billionaire philanthropists who have said they would give away at least half their wealth to charities under terms of the Giving Pledge.

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