KEY POINTS
  • "We have governors who are stepping up, luckily, but now we have 50 different homegrown state solutions instead of a national response," Melinda Gates said in an interview with Politico.
  • Gates said that once testing and contact tracing are in place, states can then start thinking about slowly reopening places in a safe and healthy way.
  • The co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told Politico that in order to fight the health crisis, far more money is needed for testing and contact tracing.
Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, gave the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic a grade of D-minus, saying it's created "chaos" in the U.S.

Gates said the U.S. has "wasted so much time" and doesn't have national leadership to provide enough tests, protective gear and other supplies and services needed across the country. She cited Germany as an example of a nation that was able to keep certain sectors of its economy open while also keeping its residents safe.

"That's the kind of leadership we should expect as citizens in this country, and we're not getting it. We haven't gotten it yet during this crisis, and you're seeing what's happening. And it's chaos," she said Friday on NBC's "TODAY."

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In a separate interview with Politico on Thursday, Gates gave the Trump administration's response a D-minus.  She said governors are stepping up, "but now we have 50 different homegrown state solutions instead of a national response."

"You know, if we were doing the things that the exemplar countries are doing, like Germany, we would be testing," she told Politico. "We would be testing, first, health care workers and then the most vulnerable, and you'd be doing contact tracing."

Gates added that once testing and contact tracing are in place, states can then start thinking about slowly reopening businesses in a safe and healthy way. "We have a lack of a coordinated effort. That's just the truth, across the United States."

She said far more money is needed for testing and contact tracing. She said organizations should be looking to fund vaccine development on a global level, citing an event led by European leaders that raised 7.4 billion euros.

Gates criticized the U.S. for "lacking in its response on the international front," saying food shortages and health issues will exacerbate in regions such as Africa.

"It is increasingly clear that the world's response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable," said Gates, calling out the importance of global solidarity and equal protection of vulnerable communities around the world.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $250 million to fight the global pandemic after announcing an additional $125 million of funding in April. The grant will support development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.