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The former CEO of Google said that he hopes Americans will be “grateful” for how Silicon Valley has stepped up during the coronavirus pandemic as he also took a veiled swipe at the federal government’s response.
“Think about what your life would be like in America without Amazon, for example. The benefit of these corporations — which we love to malign — in terms of the ability to communicate … the ability to get information, is profound — and I hope people will remember that when this thing is finally over,” Eric Schmidt said during a Tuesday speech to the Economic Club of New York that was livestreamed.
“So let’s be a little bit grateful that these companies got the capital, did the investment, built the tools that we’re using now and have really helped us out. Imagine having the same reality of this pandemic without these tools,” he continued.
Eric Schmidt , former chairman and CEO of Google, commented on the COVID-19 pandemic during a Tuesday speech.
Google, along with Apple and Facebook, have stepped in to harness the power of their collective technological know-how — and their significant wealth — to address testing capacity, contact tracing, overloaded websites, sharing fact-based information and providing tens of millions of masks to frontline workers.
The tech mogul, worth an estimated $14.2 billion, according to Forbes, also seemed to be taking a swipe at the federal response to the COVID-19 outbreak — albeit without naming President Trump or the White House specifically.
Schmidt said it was “amazing” and he was “curious” as to why the government had not acted more quickly to allocate money to scientists, organize research priorities and ramp up testing capabilities in the first two months of 2020.
“We probably were one month late in the way we organized ourselves,” Schmidt said. “That month cost us lives.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, over 614,000 people in the U.S. were infected with COVID-19, and the virus had killed more than 27,000.
Schmidt also noted that the re-opening of the U.S. economy may take longer than people realize.
“This will change our society for much longer than we think,” he said. “It’s not going to be a quick recovery back to the hugging and kissing and restaurants and all the behaviors that were perfectly fine before the pandemic.”