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We asked Bill Gates what Georgia reopening means for the country. This was his answer.

Gates has been vocal in his message that the country cannot begin reopening too soon.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to plunge Georgia into a first-in-the-nation experiment with reopening the economy has drawn nationwide scrutiny, with everyone from President Trump to Spike Lee weighing in.

Bill Gates has been a visible figure in the fight against the novel coronavirus, helping spearhead numerous research efforts through his foundation. He has also been vocal in his message that the country cannot begin reopening too soon.

"This is a recipe for disaster. Because people can travel freely across state lines, so can the virus. The country’s leaders need to be clear: Shutdown anywhere means shutdown everywhere," he said weeks ago in an oped for the Washington Post. "Until the case numbers start to go down across America - which could take 10 weeks or more - no one can continue business as usual or relax the shutdown. Any confusion about this point will only extend the economic pain, raise the odds that the virus will return, and cause more deaths."

Now, with Georgia beginning to reopen to some business activity, 11Alive had the chance to ask Gates his thoughts on the matter, through NBC News.

During an interview with the Microsoft founder, NBC presented him our question: "What does the action in Georgia mean for the country?"

His answer:

"Well I think we should get well past the peak to where the case numbers are fairly low before we start to open up. That's one person's opinion," he said.

"I also think we need to understand very carefully which activities have large human welfare or economic benefits relative to their risk, and be very tasteful and only open up gradually, allow a few things, like we see in Germany and Denmark, you know, and Austria now doing a little bit, and using their really great testing capacity which they've prioritized to exactly the right people. And so I do worry that some will open up too quickly, but as long as we're watching - if we fix the testing then at least we can see it, and go back to old policy."

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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