Bill Gates
Microsoft founder Bill Gates , co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, arrives to attend a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 25, 2015. Reuters

Bill Gates thinks the United States will open back up by the end of May, around six weeks from now. The Microsoft founder’s statements come amid the continuous growth of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country.

Gates believes the country will slowly reinstate work by next month, with schools resuming by the start of the next term year. This mirrors steps made by China which recently lifted lockdowns and loosened restrictions across the country.

“I do think school will be able to resume in the fall,” Gates told CNBC’s Becky Quick.

The visionary and philanthropist noted that while most schools have turned to virtual classes to continue the academic year, this doesn’t work for the entire US school system. He pointed out that many students don’t have access to computers or the internet.

“Most of the private schools, they’re used to online, they’ve made sure all their students have the device and the connectivity,” he explained.

“Different school districts have decided some don’t do online learning because it would be unjust in terms of the kids who don’t have access. And so that’s really a dilemma. There are philanthropists — Ray Dalio, Jeff Bezos and many others — who are trying to fill that gap, you know, get some devices and connectivity out there.”

Following the coronavirus outbreak, several states have ordered schools to close down. According to Education Week, 17 states and two US territories have ordered or recommended school closures for the rest of the academic year. It has impacted over 124,000 public and private schools, affecting 55 million students.

Gates also believes the country can open up by end of May. However, he acknowledges that the economy will bear the brunt of this pandemic.

“No one should think the government can wave a wand and all of a sudden the economy is anything like it was before this happened. That awaits either a miracle therapeutic that has an over 95% cure rate, or broad usage of the vaccine.”