Key Words: Almost half of Republicans believe a debunked conspiracy theory about Bill Gates — here’s his response

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‘I hope it’ll die down as people get the facts. We need to get the truth out there.’

That’s Bill Gates answering a question that he really shouldn’t need to, but considering 44% of Republicans in a recent poll said they believe the Microsoft MSFT, -4.34% co-founder is plotting to use a coronavirus vaccine to implant tracking devices on people, well…

“There’s no connection between any of these vaccines and any tracking type thing at all,” Gates told CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell Wednesday. “I don’t know where that came from.”

Gates, who has poured millions into vaccine research through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, dismissed the false theory in the past, but the believers are sticking with it.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide climbed above 15 million on Thursday and the U.S. case tally edged closer to 4 million, as California’s case tally rose above New York’s, the early U.S. virus hotspot, following a surge in new infections in recent weeks.

Gates also criticized the U.S. response and shared some regrets.

“Serious mistakes were made, some of which were because we didn’t understand the virus very well — the understanding about the importance of masks came later than we wish it had, and then the U.S. had the lowest compliance with mask use of any country, didn’t have the leadership message there,” Gates said, adding that he hopes to put this behind us by the end of next year. .

He also explained that President Trump’s recent assertion that the U.S. has the one of lowest mortality rates in the world is not even close to accurate.

“I mean, by almost every measure, the U.S. is the one of the worst and I think we can change that, but it’s an ugly picture,” Gates said. “We actually had criteria for opening up that said you had to have cases declining and we opened up with cases increasing. We somehow got masks as this politicized thing … and some like, harbinger of freedom, that just covering your mouth was awful.”

Watch the full interview: