Melinda Gates says White House response to COVID-19 is 'costing lives'

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Melinda Gates is not mincing words regarding the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic -- which as of Monday has killed more than 80,000 Americans.

“We are lacking leadership at the federal level in the United States, and it's highly distressing and disappointing,” the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview. “To have to have 50 state-grown solutions is inefficient. It makes no sense. And it's costing people their lives.”

Gates, along with husband Bill, the former CEO and co-founder of Microsoft, established their foundation two decades ago as a way to address global health issues.

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She also told Yahoo Finance that she's not pleased with America's lack of a national testing system for coronavirus.

“If we had a good testing and tracing system like Germany has, we would have started to reopen slowly more places in the economy,” she explained. “People wouldn't be struggling so much to put a meal on their table. The lack of action is really causing harm and hurt unnecessarily in this country. And I'm incredibly disappointed to see that.”

Bill and Melinda Gates are seen above.

Bill and Melinda Gates are seen above. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)

Her husband was targeted by social media mobs for his comments about the Trump administration's pandemic response, which he characterized as too slow, and his defense of the World Health Organization. She provided more context on those statements during the interview.

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“Bill and I both came out strongly,” she told Yahoo Finance. “We know the World Health Organization, it's not perfect. But we have worked with them for over 20 years. When you're in a crisis, and you know a partner is good and robust, you stand up for what's right, and you stand up for your partners.”

However, Gates did praise some state and local officials.

“Luckily, you're seeing many governors step up and not only do the right thing for their state, but they're taking regional approaches now with other governors,” she said. “And so they're looking at what are the who are the exemplars who's done well on this, they're talking to each other, they're figuring out how do you make sure you get the protective gear out equitably? How do you make sure that when you have testing available, you get it out to healthcare workers first and then the most vulnerable."

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As of Monday evening there were more than 4.1 million cases of coronavirus worldwide.