#Coronavirus: Bill Gates Targeted by Conspiratorial Rumours

#Coronavirus: Bill Gates Targeted by Conspiratorial Rumours

Many sites raise the specter of a plot organized by the billionaires, Bill Gates in the lead, to reduce the world population.

Since the new coronavirus 2019-nCov has been rampant in China and elsewhere, several rumors and conspiracy theories have targeted Bill Gates and particularly the philanthropic foundation he created with his wife, Melinda Gates, in the early 2000s.

Thanks to the considerable fortune amassed by the founder of Microsoft, it finances many medical research programs, and invests for example in the development and access to vaccines worldwide. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced on January 26 that it plans to commit $ 10 million to help China and Africa contain the spread of 2019-nCoV.

Most of the sites and blogs that relay these conspiracy theories are already known to spread rumors and false information. Some are also antivaxers, that is, activists opposed to vaccination. Three infoxes are particularly relayed and raise the specter of a plot organized by the billionaires, Bill Gates at the head, to reduce the world population.

1. Did the Gates Foundation organize a “simulation” of the coronavirus epidemic in late 2019?

This is one of the most widely spread rumors: the founding of the Gates couple has, according to several websites, prophesied of the 2019-nCov epidemic:

“On October 18, 2019, the Gates Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Economic Forum jointly organized an event in New York where“ policymakers, business leaders and health officials ” worked together on a simulated coronavirus epidemic. “

This claim is echoed by several sites, such as Wikistrike or New World Order.

 Why it is Wrong

The Johns Hopkins Center is an international public health NGO that “works to protect the health of populations in the face of epidemics”. She conducts studies funded by the United States government and private sponsors, such as the founding of Bill and Melinda Gates.

In response to the deluge of charges, the center issued a press release on January 25. He confirmed that a pandemic simulation exercise called “Event 201”, carried out in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum, had indeed taken place in October 2019. The scenario, as it had been imagined , predicted an epidemic whose epicenter was in a pigsty in Brazil and which would cause the death of 65 million people in the world.

But the NGO says that this event gave rise to “no prediction” and that it was a “fictional coronavirus pandemic”. She adds that “the data used to model the potential impact of this fictitious virus is not similar to nCoV-2019”.

Indeed, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. The one that appeared in December 2019 in China is a close cousin of SARS-CoV which raged in 2002-2003, hence its name 2019-nCoV, for “new coronavirus 2019”.

Finally, the Johns Hopkins Center concludes that it never predicted that the coronavirus epidemic “would kill 65 million people”.

It is therefore false and dishonest to say that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation predicted this epidemic and the millions of deaths. It was a simulation, not an anticipation.

2. Has the Gates Foundation funded “the group that holds the patent for the deadly virus? “

The other “disturbing” element highlighted in many publications is the discovery of an alleged link between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Pirbright Institute.

The latter is said to have “filed a patent application for the live coronavirus, which was approved on November 20, 2018”. And “suspiciously, one of the” main donors “of the Pirbright Institute is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”.

Here, it is still implied that this connection is not the result of chance, and that after having predicted the current epidemic, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would have approached an institute to finance the patent of the coronavirus .

 Why This is Misleading

Pirbright is a British research center renowned for its work in the field of epidemiology. Like the Johns Hopkins Center, the institute was forced to issue a press release on January 24 to respond to “misinformation about the institute and its work on social media.”

First, Pirbright recalls that it does a lot of research on a coronavirus. But an animal coronavirus, an avian infectious bronchitis virus, which infects poultry. “Pirbright does not currently work on human coronaviruses”, underlines the research center, before specifying:

“The Institute has patent number 10130701 which covers the development of a weakened form of the coronavirus that could potentially be used as a vaccine to prevent respiratory disease in birds and other animals. (…) We have not yet developed a vaccine, but research is in progress. “

The patent established in 2015, cited by several conspiracy sites, therefore does not concern a strain of coronavirus which would affect humans. Finally, Pirbright claims that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not fund this patent. Instead, it funds other Pirbright work, such as the study of diseases in livestock and animal immunology.

To say that “Bill Gates funded the Pirbright Institute, which has a patent on the coronavirus”, is therefore very dishonest: the foundation did not fund this patent on the one hand, and this coronavirus has nothing to do with the 2019-nCov on the other hand.

3. Did Bill Gates say “that vaccines are one of the keys to reducing the world’s population levels”?

Another rumor about the founder of Microsoft has also gained popularity. Gates accused of making shocking comments about the role of vaccines in an article:

“In an infamous TEDx Talk, Mr. Gates explained that vaccines are one of the keys to reducing world population levels, and what better way to do this than to release patented coronaviruses to the masses in order to introduce a patented vaccine for them later? “

A Facebook surfer commented on the sequence in question, with this type of legend just as allusive: “Bill Gates who said in a TED conference and this, twice:” If we do well with vaccines, we may decrease the population by 10 to 15%. ” “

Why it is Wrong

Bill Gates actually participated in a TED conference in 2010, in which he discussed climate challenges and his work at the foundation. But the extracts from this conference have been edited and do not correspond to the speech of the billionaire philanthropist.

Here’s what he said:

“There are 6.8 billion people in the world today. We should reach 9 billion. With very good results on new vaccines, health care, birth control, we could reduce it by maybe 10 or 15%, but we will keep an increase factor of about 1.3. “

Attention, it is not the population that Bill Gates hopes to reduce by 10 to 15%, but its increase, which is currently very rapid (the factor of 1.3 corresponds to an increase of 30% which he hopes to see slowing down) .

The video is reminiscent of another highly publicized clip from the Internet, taken from an interview with CNN in 2011, in which Bill Gates reportedly said that “vaccines are the best way to bring the population down.” In fact, his words were distorted. It is not a question of using vaccines to “kill” or “sterilize” the population, quite the contrary.

According to him, and he has developed this reasoning several times, Mr. Gates believes that reducing infant mortality through the development of vaccination can slow population growth in the world. He considers that this progress will ultimately lead parents to conceive fewer children, if they know they will live long and healthy. Ultimately, this would reduce the growth of the world’s population.

“Well-crafted scenarios”

Conspiracy sites and blogs have not waited for the coronavirus epidemic to spread false information about Bill Gates. “There were exactly the same rumors at the time of the Zika epidemic and during the major polio vaccination campaigns, where he was accused of injecting the African population with the virus vaccine,” recalls Jocelyn Raude , lecturer and researcher at the Graduate School of Public Health (EHESP).

For this sociologist who worked on disinformation in the field of vaccinology, history often repeats itself: “We have well-crafted scenarios, which from one epidemic to another are recycled, with more or less the same strings and protagonists. Raude believes that the founder of Microsoft is a “good customer” because his role as a billionaire philanthropist, sensitive to vaccination issues, is necessarily suspect:

“He embodies the prototype of the great financier who could contribute to a kind of“ ghost government ”. And that’s what we find in conspiracy theories, very powerful men who operate behind the scenes in world affairs. “

The problem is that the news spread on the Internet influences health policy. The researcher had carried out a study as early as 2009, when influenza A (H1N1) appeared: “We wondered what effects neoconspirational theories could have, and we had shown that there was indeed a link between adherence to a conspiratorial vision in matters of health and less use of prevention practices recommended by the public authorities. “

Other scientific work since then has documented this, and the proliferation of information drowned in the midst of legitimate questions, demonstrates that this anti-vaccination discourse is still very much present today.

Source – Le Monde

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