Bill Gates Says He Doesn’t Understand Why People Resist Wearing Face Masks
Bill Gates says he can’t understand why some people still won’t wear face masks, comparing anti-mask campaigners to ‘nudists’ refusing to wear pants in public.
The Microsoft co-founder has been a long-time campaigner for improving healthcare, and has emerged as one of the most vocal public figures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gates has regularly spoken about the importance of wearing masks, and recently criticised those who refuse to follow public health guidelines.
Gates said, as per Business Insider:
The idea that somebody is resisting wearing a mask, that is such a weird thing to me.
What are these, like nudists? We ask you to wear pants. No American says, or very few Americans say, that that’s like some terrible thing.
Gates, who through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has become one of the world’s leading healthcare philanthropists, made the comments on the first episode of his new podcast with actress Rashida Jones, called ‘Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions’.
During the podcast, Gates explained that experts initially did not think that face masks would be that effective in reducing the spread of the virus, which was initially thought to spread more like the flu.
Virologists now say that COVID-19 can be transmitted far more easily than first thought, and with asymptomatic carriers of the virus also contagious, leading health officials to conclude that wearing a mask, regardless of if you feel unwell or not, is one of the most effective ways of reducing transmission.
These unbelievable viral loads that you see with the coronavirus don’t occur with most of the other respiratory viruses.
Our model of flu with coughing turned out to be wrong… it’s overwhelmingly clear that the upside [of mask-wearing] is gigantic.
In the early days of the pandemic, experts believed that only medical-grade masks would be effective in reducing the spread, and were reluctant to encourage members of the public to wear face masks over fears they would run out of supplies for frontline workers. Doctors now say that any basic face covering can help reduce your likelihood of catching or transmitting the virus when in public.
Initial confusion over mask guidance, combined with conspiracy theories spread by groups like QAnon, have lead to a small but vocal ‘anti-mask’ movement. The movement is particularly prevalent in the United States where, despite facing the largest outbreak in the world, groups have continued to protest against COVID restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing.
The number of Americans dead from COVID-19 is fast approaching 250,000, with case numbers reaching new records each day. Yet as per The Washington Post, doctors and nurses have reported treating patients who refuse to wear masks and believe that the virus is a hoax even after contracting it.
During the podcast, Gates and Jones also spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who stressed the importance of continuing to follow public health measures.
Fauci told the pair:
One of the things we’re dealing with is a degree of essentially fatigue that people have about going through this. It’s amazing, it’s almost like a distortion of time,
I want to tell people, ‘Don’t give up, this is going to end, science is going to help us with a vaccine and therapy, and if we pay attention to the public health measures, we can gain control of it.
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