Fact check: Bill Gates is not responsible for COVID-19

A photo with over 1,400 shares on Facebook as of Sept. 9, 2020, shows a poster with a conspiracy theory about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The post (here) on a Facebook page named UK Lockdown Truth shows an unidentified woman carrying a poster that reads: “When you try to kill everyone with a plandemic but accidentally cause a mass awakening” over an image of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. It has been shared elsewhere on Facebook (here) and on Twitter (here, here) .

The suggestion that COVID-19 is a deliberately planned pandemic is false. As of Sept. 9, 2020, the World Health Organization reported over 27 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 894,000 deaths ( Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains the source of COVID-19 was most likely a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, China (here) . COVID-19 is believed to have spread from an animal to a person much like MERS and SARS. There is no indication or publicly available evidence suggesting that the coronavirus was "designed".

The term “plandemic” is frequently used in relation to conspiracy theories that the COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax or deliberately planned outbreak. The term was popularized by a video that has been removed from several social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube because some of it was found to contain potentially harmful medical misinformation (here) . A breakdown of misinformation contained in the so-called “Plandemic” video can be seen here (here) .

Many instances of misinformation related to COVID-19 have referenced Gates. These include, but are not limited to, a false claim that the pandemic is a hoax in which an old Gates quote about pandemic readiness is used (here) ; false or misrepresented claims that Gates plans to microchip people to fight coronavirus (here and here) ; a false claim that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was linked to conspiracy over patents (here) ; and a false claim that linked Bill Gates to a pharmaceutical company that may develop a vaccine for the virus (here) .

Some misinformation related to Bill Gates and the COVID-19 pandemic includes false claims about population control. Some of these theories stem from a misinterpretation of a section of a speech he gave at a TED conference in 2010 (here) . As part of a talk on reducing CO2 emissions to zero, he said: “First, we've got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That's headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent. But there, we see an increase of about 1.3.”

Another conspiracy theory falsely accuses Gates and his foundation of assisting in the design of a coronavirus. This theory stems from a misinterpretation of the work done by a research center in England called the Pirbright Institute funded by The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation. This claim has been debunked in full by Reuters (here) .


False. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic was deliberately planned or that Bill Gates has any links with such a plan.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .