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I don’t feel much like writing, although I will. A high school classmate died of COVID-19 the day after Christmas and, no, she didn’t have a comorbidity. She did apparently believe a conspiracy theory about Bill Gates, so she didn’t get vaccinated. Unfortunate, but true. Here’s more.

Bill Gates did not denounce COVID-19 vaccines as dangerous and call for their withdraw from circulation. He did not say the vaccines were “far more dangerous than anyone imagined.”

According to Snopes.com, the fabricated yet popular quote originated as “satire” on a website that frequently publishes vaccine-related conspiracy theories. Later, an editor’s note was appended, saying that, when first published, “... we should have made it clear at the beginning that it was satire rather than at the end. We did not do this and we apologize.”

However, other websites had already reprinted it.

Some theorists even suggested that Gates (who has donated more than $400 million to various pandemic relief efforts) helped design COVID-19 in a lab so that he could sell vaccines to pharmaceutical companies.

Hogwash. Lies kill.

The truth is that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s purpose is to enhance health care and reduce extreme poverty worldwide. In 2000, it was the second-largest charitable foundation, with $49.8 billion in assets.

The couple was ranked as the second most-generous philanthropists in the United States behind Warren Buffet in 2007.

Not ones likely to develop COVID-19 to enrich themselves.

In fact, Bill Gates gave a TED Talk (Technology, Entertainment, Design), warning the world of such a pandemic five years before much was known of COVID-19.

He predicted, “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war.”

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Gates said of the Ebola epidemic, “The problem was that we didn’t have a system at all.”

He said, “We didn’t have a group of epidemiologists ready to go who would have gone, seen what the disease was, see how far it had spread ... . We didn’t have a way of preparing people ... we were far slower than we should have been getting the thousands of workers into these countries.”

He warned, “The failure to prepare could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola ... [look at] the Spanish flu [of] 1918.”

He said, “... we can build a really good response system ... . We’ve got cellphones to get information from the public and ... out to them. We have satellite maps where we can see where people are and where they’re moving. We have advances in biology that should dramatically change the turnaround time to look at a pathogen and be able to make drugs and vaccines that fit ... , but those tools need to be put into an overall global health system ... .

“First is, we need strong health systems in poor countries ... where ... we’ll see the outbreak very early on. We need a medical reserve corps. Lots of people who’ve got the training and background who are ready to go with the expertise. And then, we need to pair those medical people with the military, taking advantage of the military’s ability to move fast, do logistics and secure areas.”

He continued, “We need to do simulations, germ games, not war games, so that we see where the holes are ... . Finally, we need lots of advanced R and D in areas of vaccines and diagnostics.”

He said he didn’t have a budget, “but I’m quite sure it’s very modest, compared to the potential harm.

“The world bank estimates that, if we have a worldwide flu epidemic, global wealth will go down by over $3 trillion, and we’d have millions and millions of deaths.”

He concluded, “... but we need to get going, because time is not on our side ... . If we start now, we can be ready.”

Too bad we didn’t listen to him. Instead, we listened to conspiracy theories about him.

Tom Crouser is a business consultant living in Mink Shoals. Reach him at

tom@crouser.com and follow @TomCrouser on Twitter. Also connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.

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