Relentless pursuit of an equitable world

The Optimist

COVID-19 Guidelines: Shelter in Place

COVID-19: How you can help from home

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world, the foundation is ramping up support for organizations doing important, life-saving work. Like you, we are saddened by the stories we see on the news and that we’re hearing from our own loved ones affected by this disease. We’ve already committed up to $100 million for efforts on COVID-19 globally, with another $5 million to support excellent programs in the greater Seattle area, and we’ll continue to see where our resources and expertise can be most effective as we take on this threat.

Still, we also know that fighting public health emergencies involves a sustained public effort—and there are a number of things you can do from home that will have a significant effect on the effort to control and defeat this pandemic.

First, follow public health guidance. We are all in this together, and the more we do to keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy, the better positioned we’ll all be to weather this challenge. That means washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, cleaning surfaces regularly, and coughing into your elbow to prevent spreading germs. It also means respecting any shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders advised by leaders in your state and community. It’s not just for your own protection; it’s also to support people working in our healthcare services and other vital industries who aren’t able to stay indoors or work from home. With a highly contagious pathogen like COVID-19, small steps really can make a big difference.

COVID-19 Guidelines: Wash Hands    COVID-19 Guidelines: Physical Distancing


Second, practice physical distancing. Stay home as much as possible. Avoid all nonessential travel and social gatherings. Look for ways to turn in-person events into remote connections, and to interact using phone calls and video chats rather than visits. If you are safely able to—or must--go outside, stay at least six feet away from others. By practicing this kind of physical distancing, you can help prevent the spread of the virus to yourself and to others. And if you live in a place where physical distancing is not possible, do your best to follow some of the guidance above: avoid touching your face, cough into your elbow, and minimize physical contact with others as much as possible.

Finally, if you want to give financially, and you’re looking for effective, reputable organizations to support, you can contribute to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which works to help countries prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic. In the U.S., Giving Compass and the National Center for Family Philanthropy have compiled a comprehensive list of vetted COVID-19 funds, many focused on local needs.

Support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund


We have also heard from many donors who want to align their giving with our foundation’s COVID-19 strategy. To meet that demand, Gates Philanthropy Partners has created the Combating COVID-19 Fund. Donations to this new fund will support organizations that are working in four critical areas: developing diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics; and helping to protect the most vulnerable populations from COVID-19, particularly people living in Africa and South Asia. All gifts made to the fund will supplement Gates Foundation grants to partners and projects prioritized by foundation experts and by members of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, which we launched with Mastercard and Wellcome last month.

Thanks for being a part of this important work, and stay safe.

About the Author

Mark Suzman
Mark Suzman, the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leads the foundation's efforts to promote equity for all people around the world.

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