On Friday, Microsoft founder Bill Gates compared wearing face masks as a form COVID-19 prevention with countries who require individuals to wear pants in public. The billionaire appeared to mock the concern, as audience members at the 2022 Munich Security Conference laughed along. The founder of Microsoft also predicted that in the future, there will be more mask-wearing as the COVID-19 virus becomes more like the flu — an annual occurrence due to the fact the world does not yet have a vaccine to completely eradicate the virus.
Gates was joined by Melanie Joly, Canada’s foreign affairs minister; Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign affairs minister; Comfort Ero, CEO of the International Crisis Group; and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general, as well as CNBC’s Hadley Beale, who was leading the discussion.
During the long-ranging discussion, Beale asked: “What about masks? I think there are a lot of people in America who are confused about whether they should be wearing a mask, and in the United Kingdom for, example, they’ve scrapped that all together.”
“Well that’s interesting you know what is the downside of wearing a mask? I mean it’s got to be tough, you know, you have to wear pants. I mean this is tough stuff, these societies are so cruel, why do they make you wear pants? I’m trying to figure it out.” Gates said to laughter in a sarcastic tone.
“We’re very glad you have yours on,” Beale comically said in response to Gates.
“That will be on the web, that will be on the web,” another panelist predicted.
The exchange can be seen here:
Philanthropist Bill Gates has been discussing mask mandates at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
“What is the downside of wearing a mask? You have to wear pants.” pic.twitter.com/Kdh85YRuIn
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) February 19, 2022
Gates also said the world should put research and development dollars into a vaccine effort that could eradicate COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, within the next decade.
“I do think in the next decade we can come up with an eradication vaccine. That’s an aspiration not a guarantee, but we should put R&D dollars into that,” Gates explained. “There’s already a lot of work that’s been done on a universal flu vaccine and the data on that looks very promising.”
Still, Gates acknowledged that countries and individuals will still be requiring masks during seasons where COIVD-19 is more prevalent.
“So, we’ll have rebounds but there’ll be more typical of seasonal flu levels where of course we don’t generally shut things down,” he continued. “Although in the future, some degree of mask wearing probably will be indicated but we won’t get death levels at, you know, the kind of acute level that we’re still experiencing today as the omicron wave passes through on a global basis, ” he added.
On Friday, The Daily Wire also reported that Gates said it is “too late” to meet the WHO’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population. He also said that, “sadly,” the Omicron variant provided immunity faster than the world could vaccinate individuals.
“Well, you know, sadly, the virus itself — particularly the variant called Omicron — is a type of vaccine, that is, it creates both B cell and T cell immunity,” Gates said in response to being asked how the world’s response has been so far to the COVID-19 virus, “And it’s done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines.”
“If you do serosurveys in African countries, you get well over 80% of people have been exposed either to the vaccine or to various variants,” Gates added, referencing a kind of test that looks at blood results in a targeted population to determine if antibodies exist in that group. “And so what that does is it means the chance of severe disease — which is mainly associated with being elderly and having obesity or diabetes — those risks are now dramatically reduced because of that infection exposure.”
Gates added the “demand” for the COVID-19 vaccine simply isn’t there anymore.
His comments in full can be seen here:
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