The coinage, “plandemic’ is meant to identify those who introduced—or labored the elimination of —SARS-CoV-2, in the hopes of capitalizing on affected communities.
Some theorists have even suggested that Microsoft founder Bill Gates (who has donated more than $400 to various pandemic relief efforts) helped design COVID-19 in a lab so that he could sell vaccines to pharmaceutical companies.
Facebook announced plans to remove all claims that Gates installed microchips and or injected luciferase into vaccine doses last week. Three months prior, an image featuring Gates and the text: “When you try to kill everyone with a plandemic but accidentally cause a mass awakening” gained more than 1,400 shares on the social media site.
“Rumors took hold in March when Mr Gates said in an interview that eventually “we will have some digital certificates” which would be used to show who’d recovered, been tested and ultimately who received a vaccine. He made no mention of microchips,” the BBC reports. “However, the technology is not a microchip and is more like an invisible tattoo. It has not been rolled out yet, would not allow people to be tracked and personal information would not be entered into a database, says Ana Jaklenec, a scientist involved in the study.”
“The whole digital media space where people are dealing with the bad news, the pandemic, has spun up a lot of conspiracy theories,” the Microsoft co-founder said of the accusations. “And the two people who are most targeted in those are Dr. Fauci and myself, in terms of, ‘do we have some sort of maligned reason to think vaccines are important in general?
“That’s unfortunate, particularly if it undermines the mask wearing or if it undermines, as the vaccine gets approved, … [how] people not only protect themselves but protect their loved ones, protect the community by participating in something that’s proven to be safe.”
A trip into the weeds of these conspiracy theories reveals four potential culprits with respect to their origins.
The first is mounting mistrust in the elite, i.e those who maintain privilege and political relevance through their wealth.
Among those who believe Gates facilitated the spread of the coronavirus for non-monetary reasons (population control, climate change) many contend that his efforts to do so were enabled by his financial resources.
The second revolves around a disparate national response to the coronavirus.
When SARS-CoV-2 first penetrated the US, the internet lit up with supplements purported to reduce disease severity, manufacturers began selling counterfeit respirators and hospitality industries re-opened prematurely, which put under-represented communities at risk.
During a segment on 60 Minutes filmed eight months ago, Dr. Fauci said, “People should not be walking around with masks in America.” Some believe that this assessment was a flat out lie meant to prevent a shortage of medical supplies for those frequently exposed to coronavirus, while others hold a limited data set responsible.
The schizophrenic nature of the coronavirus itself frustrated consistent data even more. It’s so erratic and hard to characterize, those held to a high intellectual standard, like Gates for instance, often found themselves walking back statements they made before all the parameters were uncovered. This wounded confidence in those choreographing countermeasures.
The World Health Organization revised COVID-19’s suspected lethality on more than one occasion, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has similarly updated its literature regarding indoor-dining, turbulent aerosols, and the coronavirus’s stability in different settings.
Meanwhile, some young and otherwise healthy samples contract severe manifestations of COVID-19. Others develop mild symptoms that last for months.
Opening retail industries appeared to surge case numbers, but re-opening schools didn’t seem to do the same.
And natural immunity is still basically undefined even if only a handful of people have experienced clinically recognizable COVID-19 after completing viral clearance.
The inconsistencies go on and on. And throughout them, Gates has been commenting on all of them. This was the case of existential threats that impacted nations in the recent past as well.
“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 Reuters reported that Gates 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.”
“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 third element fueling pandemic conspiracies is the speed at which an effective vaccine was developed.
To a significant portion of the global population, trials as successful and speedy as the trials reported by Pfizer and Biotech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson indicate that getting a vaccine to the public is more important than getting a safe vaccine to the public.
These fears were compounded by pregnant women and children under 16 being excluded from some vaccine trials. Add the side-effects associated with Pfizer’s doses (headache, fatigue, and mild nausea that typically lasts less than a day) and you have a principled hesitation on behalf of the general public.
While it’s true that the average amount of time it took to develop a vaccine in the past was roughly ten years, the doses targeted against SARS-CoV-2 were benefited by money, new approaches to testing patient samples, and the entire academic community’s attention.
Not only did wealthy philanthropists like Gates contribute to these funds, but nations around the world focused the greater sum of their resources toward the suppression of SARS-CoV-2.
“The fact that governments pre-bought the vaccines meant that people could take greater risks with what they did at an earlier stage without having to take one step at a time,” Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine explained in the Guardian.
Additionally, the mRNA technology employed for Pfizer’s trials allowed researchers to take genetic material from the novel coronavirus and place it into a tried and tested dose. When human samples receive this dose, its genetic material is used by the protein-making mechanisms in our cells to produce the coronavirus “spike protein”, which in turn triggers an immune response.
“The mRNA vaccine platform technology [which the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine uses] has been in development for over two decades,” added Dr Zoltán Kis, of Imperial College London. “Vaccine manufacturing has also been carried out in parallel with the clinical trials, hoping that trials will succeed.”
The last, major factor, is a nearly unanimous rejection of the media in the US.
Polls habitually indicate that Americans are unhappy with coverage of the pandemic (among other things). The reasons are varied, but the end result sees those heralded by traditional news outlets crucified by the consumers at home; cable news enjoys propping up expertise-mascots.
For a time, Gates was just shorthand for intellect. So to fill a segment, it wasn’t’ uncommon for an anchor to say a scary thing and then cut to Bill commenting on it. This only has the potential to set him up for failure and dim the eyes of viewers. Bill Gates is not an expert on infectious disease or epidemiology.
Cynicism has never been more appropriate than it is in 2020, but it should be noted that Bill Gates and, Melinda Gates for that matter, who have been right about some details of COVID and wrong about others, are basically privy to the same information that we are. They also share many of the concerns voiced by the public.
“I’m worried about vaccine distribution not going to the right people,” Gates said during the 2020 STAT Summit. “Wow, it is a dysfunctional set of people at the moment. There’s always vaccine hesitancy. There’s left-wing vaccine hesitancy, there’s right-wing vaccine hesitancy. Hopefully, it doesn’t become like mask-wearing, where one party thinks it’s a sign of surrender or a lack of freedom.”
Moreover, the public has way more control over the pandemic’s narrative than a clandestine mob of wealthy financiers. Countries that have successfully curved transmissions, did so by wearing masks and adhering to social distancing mandates.
Having said that, it’s objectively true that the most effective clinical defenses against COVID received more than $400 dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Any and all of these elements are intensified by what has been an indefinite period of social disruption.
“It’s hard because it’s not as interesting to click on the truth as it is this oversimplified explanation of why something bad has happened in the world,” Gates said during an interview at the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers on Tuesday. “I’m surprised at all the conspiracy theories — people who think the vaccine is not meant to save lives. That’s all wrong, but the scale of it is a bit scary in terms of, will that prevent people from being willing to take the vaccine, and why are they looking for these simple explanations?”
The UK began inoculating the general public with doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine this week, and the U.S Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) is expected to grant emergency authorization for the vaccine sometime next week.
A panel of experts will meet on Thursday to instruct the FDA on how to properly store and administer shots to patient samples. Melinda Gates commented on America’s route to normalcy in reaction, in an interview with Yahoo Finance:
“I think by the middle of next year you could see half the U.S. vaccinated because we have these two first mRNA vaccines coming. But then, there are three more [vaccines] that are going to come very quickly behind that. Those are even easier to manufacture. And so, I think you’ll start to see lots and lots of doses available.”