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Bill Gates: ‘U.S. still has time to do a far, far better job’ on coronavirus

Gates went on to say that “now we’re engaged in something where we’re attacking the government’s top scientists” and “undermining the credibility of the person who’s the most knowledgeable,” referring to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

President Donald Trump has undermined coronavirus warnings from health experts and his own administration since the early days of the pandemic. Trump has also repeatedly cast doubt on Fauci’s credibility in offering advice on the pandemic.

“Fortunately, Dr. Fauci has risen above the noise level, in talking about masks and best practices, and so the fact that they’re trying to undermine him for some reason, that just blows the mind,” Gates said on Tuesday.

Gates said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had also been targeted by the federal government and “not been allowed to speak out” since the start of the pandemic.

In early September, a Trump administration official pressured the CDC to alter a scientific report on the coronavirus. The president has also contradicted the CDC director on when a vaccine might become available.

“You couldn’t make a movie where the CDC was so undermined, that whether that director should stay in that job or not or just resign over it is a serious discussion,” Gates said.

When directly asked to grade Trump’s response to the pandemic, Gates criticized the administration for a lack of willingness to admit wrongdoing.

“Pretending that it’s just total lockdown versus total openness, that does no one any favors,” he said. “There are activities that should continue depending on your intensity. And let the experts articulate what’s going on here.”

But Gates also applauded the federal government for its $2 trillion economic stimulus package in March and the funding of research and trials for Covid-19 vaccines. He said the U.S. is “the exemplar” in this area, noting the nearly $10 billion that the White House’s Operation Warp Speed has thrown behind finding a vaccine and developing monoclonal antibody treatments.

Gates’ foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a major funder of the World Health Organization and has given more than $350 million to support the global response to Covid-19.

Gates said the foundation is currently working on funding a second-generation set of vaccines and making deals with high-volume manufacturers that could lead to greater vaccine distribution globally.

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Pandemic-related job cuts have led 14.6M in U.S. to lose insurance

Up to 7.7 million U.S. workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, and 6.9 million of their dependents also lost coverage, a new study finds.

Workers in manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services were especially hard-hit by job losses, but unequally impacted by losses in insurance coverage.

Manufacturing accounted for 12% of unemployed workers in June. But because the sector has one of the highest rates of employer-sponsored coverage at 66%, it accounted for a bigger loss of jobs with insurance — 18% — and 19% of potential coverage loss when dependents are included.

Nearly 3.3 million workers in accommodation and food services had lost their jobs as of June — 30% of the industry’s workforce. But only 25% of workers in the sector had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. Seven percent lost jobs with employer-provided coverage.

The situation was similar in the retail sector. Retail workers represented 10% of pre-pandemic employment and 14% of unemployed workers in June. But only 4 in 10 retail workers had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. They accounted for 12% of lost jobs with employer-sponsored insurance and 11% of potential loss including dependents.

The study was a joint project of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Commonwealth Fund.

“Demographics also play an important role. Workers ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 bore the brunt of [employer insurance]-covered job losses, in large part because workers in these age groups were the most likely to be covering spouses and other dependents,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

“The adverse effects of the pandemic recession also fell disproportionately on women,” Fronstin added in an EBRI news release. “Although women made up 47% of pre-pandemic employment, they accounted for 55% of total job losses.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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