Fact check: A newspaper front page featuring a Bill Gates quote and a teaser for a piece about 9/11 is not proof the COVID-19 pandemic was planned

A Facebook post making illogical links between an old newspaper front page and the Nov. 9 announcement about a COVID-19 vaccine has been used to falsely claim the pandemic is fake.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The post (here) , from Nov. 10, includes a photo of a person holding up the front page of the June 2011 edition of The Sovereign Independent, a newspaper consisting of opinion pieces about well-known conspiracy theories. It has since folded (here) .

On the front of the June 2011 edition, there is a teaser for a four-page spread about 9/11, which promises it will be “exposing the explosive [World Trade Center] evidence.” Below this, is an anti-vaccination headline: “Depopulation through forced vaccination: The zero carbon solution!” A picture of Bill Gates sits alongside, with his quote: “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.” The paper then refers to the billionaire businessman as “Billy ‘the kid killer’ Gates” (here) .

Accompanying the photo of the newspaper is a post from the Facebook user, in which she suggests there is a link between the 9/11 teaser and the Nov. 9, 2020 announcement from pharmaceutical company Pfizer that its vaccine for COVID-19 is more than 90% effective (here) .

She writes: “PRINTED IN 2011. LOOK AT WHAT IT SAYS 9/11. WHAT DAY WAS THE VACCINE announced 11/9 by Bill Gates. CAN PEOPLE please see this pandemic wasn’t natural it was ALWAYS PLANNED!!!!! This isn’t a coincidence and we keep trying to tell you.”

There is, however, no evidence of a link between the newspaper’s publication date, the 9/11 teaser and the date of the Pfizer announcement – and this does not prove that the pandemic was planned.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 (here). It was identified by Chinese authorities on Jan. 7, 2020, and is believed to have an animal origin that was not created or manipulated in a laboratory (here, here). Reuters has previously debunked similar claims that the pandemic was planned (here, here, here) .

Meanwhile, the quote from Bill Gates alongside the headline about depopulating the earth is one that has been repeatedly taken out of context (here, here). Gates made the comment during a TED talk in 2010 about reducing the world’s carbon emissions to zero (here) and was not suggesting the global population should be killed off using vaccines. In fact, his stance is the opposite.

Gates has long been a proponent of population control to target the roots of poverty and unrest, and told Forbes magazine in 2011 that when he first entered public health, it was to focus on contraception (here) . When he later saw data suggesting that when mortality rates fall, so, too, do birth rates, Gates shifted his focus from preventing births to saving people already alive. He told Forbes: “We moved pretty heavily into vaccines once we understood that.”


False. There is no evidence to suggest the COVID-19 pandemic was planned, and the similarity in the numbers between the newspaper’s publication, the 9/11 feature and the Pfizer vaccine announcement do not give rise to this. The Bill Gates quote on the front of the newspaper has also been taken out of context.

Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .