Gates, whose foundation has studied pandemics for years, pushed back Sunday against allegations that China covered up the new pathogen when it emerged in Wuhan in December.
“That’s a distraction,” Gates told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview. “I think there are a lot of incorrect and unfair things said.”
The billionaire philanthropist credited the country with being among the regions that moved quickly to ramp up testing for the virus.
“China did a lot of things right at the beginning, like any country where a virus first shows up,” Gates said. “They can look back and say where they missed some things.”
Gates instead took a shot at the US for not having large enough testing capabilities when the bug hit stateside.
“Some countries did respond very quickly and get their testing in place and they avoided incredible economic pain and it’s sad that even the US, where you would expect to do this well, did this poorly,” he said.
Gates on Sunday said that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has shifted its resources to focus on battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has the foundation’s total attention,” he told the Financial Times. “Even our non-health-related work, like higher education and K-12, is completely switched around to look at how you facilitate online learning.”