The Gates Foundation is spending $10 million to fight the coronavirus outbreak in China and Africa. Bill Gates has warned about a pandemic for years.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $10 million in aid to frontline responders fighting the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China and Africa. The outbreak has sickened at least 2,800 people and killed at least 81. Bill Gates has been warning about the risk of a pandemic disease for years, though this outbreak isn't considered a pandemic. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
As a coronavirus continues to spread around the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Sunday that it is contributing $10 million toward the fight to contain the outbreak. Of that total, the foundation is giving $5 million to support the response in China, while the other $5 million is going to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for screening and crisis preparedness there. The money will be spent on "emergency funds and corresponding technical support to help frontline responders in China and Africa accelerate their efforts to contain the global spread of 2019-nCoV," the foundation said in a press release. The new coronavirus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December. Since then, it has claimed at least 81 lives and reached 14 other countries. At least 2,800 people have gotten sick. China has halted transportation in Wuhan and many other cities, effectively putting more than 50 million people on lockdown. Where the Gates Foundation's $10 million will go The Gates Foundation focuses mostly on improving global health and fighting poverty. It's one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the world, with a $46.8 billion endowment. In China, the $5 million in funding will be distributed among public and private partners that the organization already works with, including China's National Health Commission, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
The money going to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is for "technical support to implement the screening and treatment of suspected cases, laboratory confirmation of 2019-nCoV diagnoses, and the safe isolation and care of identified cases," the organization said in its press release. No African countries have reported any confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but a woman in the Ivory Coast with flu-like symptoms is under observation and being kept in isolation after arriving from Beijing over the weekend, according to the South China Morning Post. She is a student who has lived in Beijing for five years and was returning to her West African home during the Lunar New Year holiday. "Our commitment to the Africa CDC is part of a broader effort to help strengthen the global response to the novel coronavirus outbreak," a spokesperson for the Gates Foundation told Business Insider. Bill Gates has been warning about a pandemic for years In an op-ed Gates published in Business Insider in 2017, he named a deadly pandemic as one of the three greatest threats to humanity, along with climate change and nuclear war. The coronavirus outbreak is not considered a pandemic at this time. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not yet consider it a public-health emergency of international concern. However, it's a reminder of how quickly a more severe illness could spread. "When the next pandemic strikes, it could be another catastrophe in the annals of the human race. Or it could be something else altogether. An extraordinary triumph of human will," Gates wrote in 2017. In a presentation hosted by the New England Journal of Medicine the following year, Gates said he thinks that when it comes to preparing for biological threats, the world's "sense of urgency is lacking." "The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war," he said at the time. The Gates Foundation has helped fund the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which was founded after the Ebola epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014. The group aims to to speed up the testing and deployment of vaccines for infectious diseases. It's working on a vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus. The Gates Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, also helped fund research that simulated a worst-case coronavirus pandemic a few months ago. Eric Toner, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, found that the hypothetical disease in that simulation could kill 65 million people within 18 months. China's response to the coronavirus outbreak The coronavirus family includes viruses that cause the common cold, pneumonia, and SARS. The novel coronavirus circulating now appears to be more contagious but less deadly than SARS was — it has spread more quickly than the 2003 SARS outbreak did, but the mortality rate so far is lower. Soon after the first cases of the new, pneumonia-like disease were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Chinese government quickly shuttered a seafood market that sold live animals. Some experts think that market is where the outbreak started. Chinese authorities have also urged anyone exhibiting symptoms to visit hospitals and all citizens to wear masks.
Officials shared the genetic sequence of the Wuhan coronavirus with scientists around the world, allowing other governments to test and trace potential cases. Over the last week, the Chinese government has placed a growing number of cities under quarantine by halting all public transportation within and between regions. The policy started with Wuhan, which has a population of 11 million. The orders now affect an estimated 50 million people in China, according to the Washington Post. Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing were canceled over the weekend, and many tourist attractions throughout China have been closed. Companies and laboratories around the world are beginning to work on developing a vaccine for the virus, though that could take many months, if not years.SEE ALSO: Face masks aren't a very effective way to prevent the spread of coronavirus, experts say, despite spiking sales Join the conversation about this story »
More like this (3)
Gates Foundation spending an additional $150 million on coronavirus response after Bill Gates slammed Trump for withdrawing support for WHO
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday said it would spend an additional $150 million...The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday said it would spend an additional $150 million on coronavirus response efforts, raising its total commitment to $250 million. The new funds will go toward developing testing, treatment, and vaccines for COVID-19 as well as strengthening healthcare systems in Africa and South Asia, the charity said. The announcement comes just a day after Bill Gates slammed President Donald Trump's decision to cut US funding for the World Health Organization. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced in a press release Wednesday that it would pitch in an additional $150 million to the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing its total commitment to $250 million. The charity said the new funds would be put toward developing testing, treatments, and vaccines for COVID-19 as well as helping its partners in Africa and South Asia expand their "detection, treatment, and isolation efforts." "It is increasingly clear that the world's response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable," the charity's cochair Melinda Gates said, adding that the funds "will support efforts against COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries, where local leaders and healthcare workers are doing heroic work to protect vulnerable communities." The announcement came just a day after Bill Gates criticized President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US financial support for the World Health Organization. On Tuesday evening, Trump said he would stop the $400 million to $500 million of US funding for the body, pending an investigation into what he saw as its aiding China in "covering up" the novel coronavirus. Following Trump's announcement, Bill Gates tweeted: "Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds." Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020 "COVID-19 doesn't obey border laws," he said in Wednesday's press release. "The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation." The Gateses aren't the only tech billionaires who have pledged significant amounts of money to help fight the coronavirus. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced plans to donate $1 billion toward a relief fund, an amount he says is roughly 28% of his net worth. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have committed $100 million and $25 million, respectively, though the amounts are fractions of their net worth.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa yet, but with steady traffic to and...There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa yet, but with steady traffic to and from China, experts worry that the epidemic could overrun already-strained health systems.
The WHO keeps sticking up for China as the coronavirus gets worse and experts paint a far darker picture
The World Health Organization has repeatedly offered support to China as it has struggled to contain...The World Health Organization has repeatedly offered support to China as it has struggled to contain the coronavirus epidemic which began in the city of Wuhan. At the same time, academics, scientists, other governments, and media reports have suggested a dark reality to China's response. The WHO praised China's mass quarantine of some 15 cities. The authors at least one scientific paper has said it came too late to be useful. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said China's actions have provided a "window of opportunity" to fight the disease. Meanwhile case numbers continue to rise. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. As China's struggle with the Wuhan coronavirus has evolved, with daily announcements of increasing infections and deaths, the picture has been a bleak one. But China has found support in the UN's World Health Organization (WHO), which has publicly praised China even as academics and other independent experts have proved much more skeptical. The virus, formally known as 2019-nCoV, had killed at least 492 people and infected more than 23,000 worldwide as of Wednesday morning local time. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that China's efforts to fight the virus provided a "window of opportunity" to defeat it. "There is a window of opportunity because of the high measures, the strong measures China is taking at the epicenter, at the source," Tedros said. "So let's use this opportunity to prevent further spread and control it." The centerpiece of China's response has been a sweeping quarantine in Wuhan and 15 nearby cities, locking down some 50 million people in the hope of preventing the spread. However, according to a recent peer-reviewed study, it came too late. The study, published last week in The Lancet, modeled the progress of the outbreak and said the quarantine would have a "negligible" effect because it was not implemented until after the virus had spread to other cities. It also suggested that official figures drastically under-represented the true scale of the outbreak. The study, which used a mathematical model, said that as of January 25 some 75,000 people in Wuhan likely had the virus, at a time when the official figure was around 760. While some people are known to recover from the coronavirus, the Chinese Health Commission has warned that recovering once does not provide immunity. China has also been criticized for its punishment of those who tried to raise the alarm sooner. One Wuhan doctor tried to warn his colleagues in December, when the virus was just beginning to spread, but was told by state police to stop the "illegal activity" of "making false comments," BBC News reported. Even China has accepted a degree of blame. The country issued a statement Monday recognizing "shortcomings and deficiencies" in its response to the virus, a rare admission that it had made mistakes. Scientists believe the Wuhan coronavirus could soon be considered a pandemic. The World Health Organization, probably the single most influential body in a position to declare the virus a pandemic, has so far not done so. Earlier in the outbreak, WHO officials surprised many by deciding not to describe the outbreak as a "global health emergency" — a lesser standard of disaster than pandemic. One week later, confronted with its further spread, the WHO revised its decision and did declare the emergency. The pattern of China's handling of the outbreak has a historical parallel. In the early 2000s, China was criticized for its response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which genetically related to the current outbreak. The country actively suppressed the scale of the disease, which experts concluded made it worse. It later apologized. Representatives from the WHO did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. Read more: The World Health Organization just declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency because it could spread to countries that aren't prepared Scientists say the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak could soon be declared a pandemic. Here's what that means. People could get the novel coronavirus more than once, health experts warn — recovering does not necessarily make you immune SEE ALSO: 2 charts show how quickly the Wuhan coronavirus has spread across the world Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's how to escape a flooding vehicle