Bill Gates has hit out at coronavirus testing in the US, saying the wrong people are being tested and that the system is “unequal”.
The billionaire Microsoft founder has warned for years that the world was unprepared for a global pandemic and has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to help combat the coronavirus.
“This focus on the number of tests understates the cacophony of the mistakes we have made in our testing system,” he told CNN on Sunday.
“The access to that testing system is very unequal. The wrong people are being tested and any time you don’t get results in less than 24 hours, the value of the test is dramatically reduced,” Mr Gates said.
He went on to describe the US as having a “unique” testing system that means getting to the front of the line depends on “who you know”.
The US is currently conducting approximately 1.5 to 2 million COVID-19 tests per week. Mr Gates’s comments come a day after Dr Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he expects that number to double in the next few weeks.
“We probably should get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks, and I think we will,” Dr Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Saturday.
“Testing is an important part of what we’re doing, but it is not the only part,” he said during a webcast for the National Academy of Sciences.
The US currently has 939,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Some 53,000 have died from the disease.