“ ‘No one should think the government can wave a wand an all of sudden the economy is anything like it was before this happened.’ ”
That is billionaire Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft MSFT, +0.00% 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 Amazon.com’s AMZN, -0.01% 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 ended the holiday-shortened week on Thursday with a 12.67% weekly gain, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.44% rose 12.1% for its best week since 1974 and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.77% climbed 10.59% for its best weekly rise since March of 2009, 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 have 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.