Apr 15, 2020 - Health

Gates Foundation ups coronavirus relief fund by $150 million

Bill Gates at the New Economy Forum in November 2019 in Beijing, China. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $150 million for its coronavirus relief efforts on Wednesday, on top of the $100 million committed in February.

The big picture: Tech giants like Google and Facebook have donated hundreds of millions to COVID-19 relief efforts.

Catch up quick: The $250 million in total is being used to support African and South Asian countries, vaccine development, models to project the course of COVID-19, emergency aid for students after school closures, and investing in medical supplies, the Gates Foundation says.

What they're saying: "COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws. Even if most countries succeed in slowing the disease over the next few months, the virus could return if the pandemic remains severe enough elsewhere,” Bill Gates said in a statement on Wednesday.

  • “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.”

Go deeper: Google donates $800 million in cash and ads to fight coronavirus

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Updated 10 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.

Cities' budget woes worsen with increased social unrest

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cities were already furloughing workers and considering cutting back essential services — including public safety — because of the dramatic drops in the local tax revenue that funds them. Now they're also dealing with turmoil in their streets.

Why it matters: "Unfortunately, the increasing levels of social unrest across the country reallocated efforts and scarce resources away from the former focus of getting state, regional and local economies back to some semblance of normalcy," per Tom Kozlik, head of municipal strategy and credit at HilltopSecurities.