US billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates dismissed multiple conspiracy theories about him and COVID-19 in an interview with CBS Evening News. Gates, who has been at the forefront to finding a vaccine for the disease, has been a frequent target of conspiracy theorists online.
One conspiracy theory claims that Gates wishes to "microchip" the COVID-19 vaccine and create digital IDs of everyone. A similar theory pushes the claim that the PCR test done to detect COVID-19 is in fact used to implant a Gates-funded "microchip" in people.
Responding to the claims, Gates told CBS Managing Editor Norah O'Donell, "There is no connection between any of these vaccines and any of the tracking-type devices at all. I don't know where that came from. Dr Fauci and I are two of the most-mentioned and some of these are deeply ironic. Our foundation is about reducing deaths and bringing equity to health. And yet we get accused of creating the chips of the virus.It's a little unclear to me and I hope that it will die down as people get the facts."
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been the face of the US' COVID-19 response and has been urging people to take scientifically backed measures to combat the pandemic and not fall for misinformation. This has led to conspiracy theorists spreading misleading information about Dr Fauci in a bid to to discredit him.
Gates has been a frequent target of the anti-vaccine community due to to his efforts in vaccine development which has resulted in false and misleading claims about Gates and vaccination being shared frequently. One theory claims that a Gates-backed polio vaccine paralysed 490,000 children in India, while another claims that the 64-year-old Microsoft founder said that the COVID-19 vaccine could kill millions of people.
Stressing the importance of vaccines, Gates said that the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in vaccine research is critical. "Vaccines are so key to keeping measles deaths down, vaccines helped us eradicate polio. Vaccines are so important they've played a primary role in cutting childhood death in half over the last 20 years. Our foundation has been involved in that. So explaining how careful we are about vaccine safety is super important."
Bill Gates whole interview with CBS Evening News can be watched here.
A list of debunked fake news and conspiracy theories targeting Bill and Melinda Gates can be found below
A list of debunked fake news and conspiracy theories targeting Dr Anthony Fauci can be found below