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Covid-19 has never been a stranger to conspiracy theories, with every imaginable scapegoat and agenda taking a seat at the blame table. For Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates, however, the notion that it originated in a lab is preposterous.
Gates went onto Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Tuesday to promote his book, humbly titled “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.” While there, host Trevor Noah mentioned his curiosity over the origins of the Covid-19 virus, and suggested that labs that study viruses need to do a more careful job of ensuring safety protocols are followed to prevent a virus from leaking out into the general populace.
“I found myself reading the book, and I was fascinated, but I was going, shouldn’t we also be interested in how this pandemic came to be? Like, it’s still shrouded in so much mystery. It’s like, how do we prevent something where we don’t even understand how it came to be?” he asked. “Are there labs where they need to do better at, you know, enclosing the work that they’re doing? I understand that they have to do the work, but how do we figure that out, and how do we move forward in that realm?”
This provoked a quick redirection from Gates towards diseases that spread from animals, and he insisted that Covid-19 was the product of a cross-infection from bats, the way other viruses have been known to cross over from chimpanzees and other animals.
“Well, we should at least be careful about lab safety. It’s quite clear in this case that it came across through animals. And almost all our diseases, like HIV, crossed over from chimpanzees in Africa quite some time ago. Ebola came from bats. This, also, with one step in between, came from bats.”
Gates also insisted that the spread of diseases from animals would continue, blaming climate change and humans “invading a lot of habitats” of animals.
Despite Gates’ insistence to the contrary, the idea that the virus may have begun with a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China has gained considerable traction even across political lines. The government of the United Kingdom now officially believes that the “lab leak” theory is the most probable explanation, according to a report in February.
Further casting doubt on Gates’ theory is the fact that no animal has been found carrying Covid-19, despite Gates’ claim, and despite massive testing carried out by researchers from the World Health Organization in China around the area where the outbreak is believed to have begun.
Such things may be enough to convince even a man of such undisputed liberal credentials as Noah, but apparently, for a self-proclaimed expert such as Gates, nothing ever will be.
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