October 25, 2020

‘Hope we can get everything he got’


Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC on Tuesday he hopes every person infected with Covid-19 could get the same treatment that President Donald Trump received.

“Every person that I know that has gotten it unfortunately wasn’t able to get the same level of care and access to the same medical treatment as the president,” the tech entrepreneur said on “Squawk Box.”

“I’m glad he’s getting better and I hope we can get everything he got.” 

On Monday afternoon, when Trump announced he would be leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after three days of treatment for the virus, he tweeted, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.

But Palihapitiya said: “Until what he got A) is disclosed and then B) is available for all of us to get so that, irrespective of which hospital we walk into, we can point to that and say I want that gold standard of care, then we’re not in same position he is and so we have to continue to take [the virus] seriously.”

Trump’s doctors have said that the president has taken the steroid dexamethasone, as well as remdesivir and an experimental antibody cocktail from the pharmaceutical company Regeneron.

“The idea that until that course of care is broadly available we can behave and act as the president is just not realistic,” Palihapitiya said.

He said he is also concerned that “we don’t have the adequate support for broad-based testing, we don’t have the price points, and we don’t have access.”

He said although he was able to secure rapid Covid-19 tests, he was initially blocked from buying those tests in the U.S. even though they were sold broadly in Asia and Europe.

“If it’s just me who can do this, what about everybody else?” he asked. “The number of hoops that we had to go through, the thousands of dollars I spent, that’s not a scalable solution.”

As for a coronavirus vaccine, which optimists hope will come before the end of the year, Palihapitiya said: “We probably won’t have a scaled vaccine until 2021 and maybe even 2022 — which is to say that once we have a solution, do we have the infrastructure to bring it to 300-plus million people in America?”

“The posture from the federal government as well as state governments and local governments still is really important.”

In the interview, Palihapitiya also spoke about the merger of his special purpose acquisition company with Clover Health, a Medicare insurance start-up backed by Alphabet.



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