Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates has been the focus of 'COVID-19' coronavirus conspiracy theories since at least January 2020.
This could be traced back to 2015, when the billionaire made a speech on TED Talk about the danger of pandemics.
And since Gates contributed $250 million to fight coronavirus through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, many people speculated that Gates knew about COVID-19 before almost anyone else, or that he was even somehow responsible for it.
With the pandemic yet to seize, many countries are struggling with the dilemma of re-opening their borders and apply for a 'new normal' to rebound the economy and risk the spread of the virus, or to maintain a lockdown to keep the spread low but to further affect the economy in a bad way.
The moment here has only increased online conspiracies about the Microsoft co-founder, making him continuously become a major target of conspiracy theorists around the world.
Among the results, the #ExposeBillGates hashtag was trending on Twitter over the weekend.
"Today the greatest risk of global catastrophe doesn't look like this. Instead, it looks like this. If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it's most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes. Now, part of the reason for this is that we've invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents. But we've actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We're not ready for the next epidemic."
"The failure to prepare could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola Let's look at the progression of Ebola over this year. About 10,000 people died, and nearly all were in the three West African countries. There's three reasons why it didn't spread more. The first is that there was a lot of heroic work by the health workers. They found the people and they prevented more infections. The second is the nature of the virus. Ebola does not spread through the air. And by the time you're contagious, most people are so sick that they're bedridden. Third, it didn't get into many urban areas. And that was just luck. If it had gotten into a lot more urban areas, the case numbers would have been much larger."
"So next time, we might not be so lucky. You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they're infectious that they get on a plane or they go to a market. The source of the virus could be a natural epidemic like Ebola, or it could be bioterrorism. So there are things that would literally make things a thousand times worse."
With his words that somehow predicted the pandemic, conspiracies continue to bombard Gates.
The hashtag was trending on Twitter in North America and Europe,with activists on Reddit, 4chan, and other websites were seen coordinating their efforts to increase the public's attention to the hashtag.
Bill Gates has been critical of President Trump and the U.S. response to the coronavirus.
"Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds," he tweeted on April 15, not long after President Trump announced his intentions to cut funding for the World Health Organization. "Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever."
But it is that something he said during TED Talks that made a unsubstantiated theories to claim that Gates with other rich and powerful figures were using the pandemic as an excuse to digitally track the world's population.
The claims further urge people to not take a coronavirus vaccine if one becomes available.
In March 2020, Gates offered insights into the pandemic, discussing why testing and self-isolation are essential, which medical advancements show promise and what it will take for the world to endure this crisis.