- Bill Gates resigned from the Microsoft board of directors in March.
- Since then, he has been more focused on philanthropy through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and ensuring that the world gains fair access to coronavirus vaccines and treatments.
- He told Insider that he has also recently spent more time playing tennis and taking walks in his suburban neighborhood of Seattle – while wearing a mask.
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
These days Bill Gates doesn’t go out much.
For the most part, he spends his days at home near Seattle with his wife Melinda and their three children, Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.
“I have a small group of people I have spent any time with,” since the coronavirus pandemic began, Gates told Insider.
No dinners, no big crowds.
Gates has spent the past 20 years zigzagging the world, becoming a major supporter of global public health as a co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In March, he resigned from the Microsoft board of directors to “devote more time to philanthropic priorities.”
In addition to continuing that work from home during the pandemic, he spent time with his family, going out for walks and playing tennis and bridge. He had a haircut.
“Outside, remotely, you can talk to a small group of people”
“I don’t have people in general,” said Gates, pointing out that anyone who comes close was “isolated” during the pandemic.
“Some of these people are truly amazing,” he said. “They have been at their home for about four months. And even so, I don’t go near it.”
“There have been things where you are outdoors, remotely, you can talk to a small group of people,” he said.
Members of Gates’ family spared their different levels of willingness to go out during the pandemic.
“We have three children and are part of the family,” said Gates. “Because we see them, we often discuss exactly how careful they are.”
“For our most sociable child, it was a difficult time,” said Gates, without specifying if he was referring to his eldest daughter, Jennifer, 24, or his Phoebe, 17, younger. “He still doesn’t think that a video call is the equivalent of going out, and that’s understandable, but we had to be quite strict about what the kids do.”
Gates’ socialization is largely limited to online bridge games (his favorite partner is Warren Buffett) He is also doing a lot of reading and watching some TV shows (he and Melinda like “A Million Little Things”, “This Is Us” and “Ozark”, according to a recent blog post.)
Gates has started playing tennis again
Lately, he has rediscovered one of his favorite sports.
“Tennis hasn’t been allowed for a while,” he said.
But now it’s back in the game.
“I hope tennis is still okay. I don’t think any risk has been identified,” he said, pointing out that he is still cautious about his games. “I mean, we don’t get close to each other, so this too is done in a fairly specialized way.”
(Infectious disease experts recently rated tennis as a low-medium risk pandemic activity, as long as you are moving away from others while you play.)
Gates also goes out for an occasional walk in the neighborhood, but making sure to disguise himself first.
“If I’m out for a walk, I have my mask,” he said. “Because you want people passing by not to feel like they are creating any risk for them. And I see, in my neighborhood, there is hardly anyone we went through that doesn’t wear their mask.”
Do you think that greater pressure from peers, and not masked mandates, will be more effective in convincing Americans to adhere to the disease control measure.
Gates had at least one haircut and at least one coronavirus test
Several months ago, when the Gates Foundation offices were still open and Gates was still organizing meetings in person, he became nervous about taking the virus and did a coronavirus test.
“I actually had the flu, for which I had been vaccinated,” said Gates. “I had been to meetings when I coughed a little. So I was glad that the test was negative.”
Since then, he claims to have had no symptoms of disease “and since the testing capacity is still limited, I go most of the time without testing,” he said.
But he made sure his barber had one before a recent cut.
“I went long without a haircut,” said Gates. “And then, once they had the ways they could use masks and everything else, in the end I had – I think – a haircut. And I wore a mask, the man who cut my hair wore a mask, and knew that his [COVID-19] state. “
He is not yet recommending everyone else to run away for a set-up.
“Some people have never had any haircuts, which are fine with long hair,” he said.
In addition to his personal activities, Gates recently took some time to urge U.S. lawmakers to allocate more funds to the Senate’s coronavirus incentive proposal for vaccines and treatments to be sent worldwide.
“Our foundation is trying to make sure it’s not just the rich, the rich in the United States or just the rich countries that have access to these things,” he said.