As the second wave of Covid-19 strikes many southern US states, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is levelling blame in the wake of the latest outbreaks.
Gates is blaming social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter for the spread of misinformation during the pandemic, CGTN.com reported.
“Can the social media companies be more helpful on these issues? What creativity do we have? Sadly, the digital tools probably have been a net contributor to spreading what I consider crazy ideas,” Gates said in an interview with American business magazine Fast Company.
The “crazy ideas” include misinformation convincing people to not wear masks, and conspiracy theories about vaccines to combat the disease.
“A lot of it comes in the form of conspiracy, where someone’s got some plot and my name even comes up as potentially at the center of some conspiracies, so it is a bit scary,” Gates said, adding that people want to be driven towards the facts in the pandemic.
In 2015, Gates warned about global pandemics in a TED Talk. This now-realized prediction has raised the conspiracy theory that the billionaire is responsible for creating the novel coronavirus, and netizens have been questioning the purpose of his heavy investments in vaccine development, the report said.
“We are in a crazy situation so there’s going to be crazy rumors,” he said during an interview with CCTV in April, adding that best resources, including experts, vaccine developers and drugs are necessary to stop the current global pandemic.
“We need to make it [a vaccine] without just focusing on one country, we need to make it for the entire world, including for countries that don’t have the resources to pay for vaccine research or vaccine factories,” said Gates.
A Facebook spokesperson responded to Gate’s criticism by highlighting the company’s initiatives to help cope with the global crisis, the report said.
“Since January, we’ve worked closely with health organizations, like the CDC, to connect people to accurate information about Covid-19 and we will continue to do more,” the spokesperson said in an email to Fox News.
Meanwhile, Florida surpassed 200,000 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, following the Fourth of July holiday during which the state recorded its most cases reported in a single day, CNN reported.
At least 40,000 cases have been reported by the Florida Department of Health in the last four days.
On Saturday, the Sunshine State reported 11,458 cases, the most reported in a single day, beating the previous record that was set on Thursday, CNN reported.
The state has now surpassed New York’s previous single-day high of 11,434, which was recorded in mid-April.
“It’s clear that the growth is exponential at this point,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We’ve been breaking record after record after record the last couple of weeks.”
“Our county closed down the beaches for the July Fourth weekend, in the hopes that all these rules will have an impact, a positive impact,” he added.
For Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, what’s alarming is the number of hospitalizations that will likely follow.
“This is just the positives,” Gelber told CNN. “It’s going to get much worse.”