Did Bill Gates tell a CNBC interviewer that he's made or will make $200 billion from the $10 billion his charitable foundation invested in vaccines? No, that's not true: in an interview Gates estimated that the economic benefits to the world from his $10 billlion in charitable investments totalled $200 billion, he did not say that he personally profited or would profit from it.
The windfall claim appeared in a post published on YouTube on May 3, 2020, titled "Bill Gates admits on CNBC TV he's making 200 BILLION US$ on his Vaccinations" (archived here) which opened:
Bill Gates admits on CNBC TV he's making 200 billion US$ on his vaccinations.
A fake caption, under an image of Gates and CNBC's "Squawk Box" interviewer Becky Quick, states:
Investing in global health organizations aimed at increasing access to vaccines created a 20-to-1 return in economic benefit, billionaire Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates told CNBC on Wednesday.
Here is the 25-second edited version designed to make Gates look like a profiteer.
Here is the transcript:
CNBC: You've invested 10 billion dollars in vaccinations over the last two decades and you figured out the return on investment for that and it kind of stunned me. Can you walk us through the math?
GATES: Over a twenty-to-one return, so if you just looked at the economic benefits that's a pretty strong number compared to anything else.
CNBC: I think the numbers that you ran through were, if you had put that money into an S&P 500 [stock] and reinvested the dividends, you'd come up with something like $17 billion, but you think it's $200 billion.
GATES: Here, yeah.
The edits in the video are clumsy. At 0:17 on the tape, for example, there is a visible jump in the picture where Gates' body jerks and words were removed.
Among the portions cut from the video are Gates' estimation of the value of vaccine readiness: "You literally save millions of lives."
"It is increasingly clear that the world's response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable," said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. These funds will support efforts against COVID-19 in low-and-middle-income countries.
The poster, who calls himself TheRobolinux, put the video on YouTube on May 13, 2020, but the real CNBC interview took place January 23, 2019, in Davos, Switzerland. (That was a full year before the novel coronavirus was heard of.) Gates was attending a World Economic Forum summit where he spoke about how saving lives through vaccinations can boost the economy of a country where preventable diseases are still rampant.
"You take these vaccines (and partner with organizations so you get the coverage out there) and you literally save millions of lives... Robolinux fails to point out that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with international nonprofits to distribute vaccines for measles and other diseases.
Over the past 20 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funneled billions into three main groups: the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The money doesn't go into Gates' pocket.
In the full video Gates also points out that vaccine programs have been running on "$100 billion that the world's put in; we've put in $10 billion, but there's been a 20-1 return. So, if you look at the human benefit in lives saved, that's a pretty strong message." Robolinux edited out the part where the real benefit is in human lives saved
The estimate of $10 billion turning into $200 billion actually came from the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think tank that estimates cost analysis to global problems, and was not invented by the Gates Foundation.
In the full, unedited video, Gates tells CNBC:
"Helping young children live, get the right nutrition, contribute to their country goes beyond any financial return." Robolinux edited out the part about children growing up to contribute to their countries rather than dying from preventable diseases
CNBC asked whether, because of all the anti-vaxxers in the United States, Gates is worried that the power of vaccinations will diminish. Robolinux edited out the part where Gates said "300,000 kids worldwide die of measles."
Given the apparent generosity on Bill Gates' part, why is he the top target for Coronavirus conspiracy theories?
Writing for CNBC's Make It page on April 17, Tom Huddleston Jr. said:
Theories falsely linking Gates to the coronavirus' origins in some way or another were mentioned 1.2 million times on television or social media from February to April (2020), according to an analysis by The New York Times and Zignal Labs, a media analytics company. That is roughly 33% more than the second most popular coronavirus conspiracy theory topic, linking 5G wireless technology with the viral pandemic.
Theories have claimed that Gates knew ahead of time that Covid-19 would erupt and that he was readying the technology to implant chips in the population as a means of forced vaccination. Mentions of Gates at 18,000 per day in April, according to Zignal Labs.
The rumors are kept alive by anti-vaxxers and others who do not like the fact that Gates has been outspoken about the broader threat a global pandemic could pose for several years, with some claiming that fact as evidence the billionaire knew, specifically, about coronavirus ahead of time. The family stores extra food in their basement to prepare for a pandemic, according to his wife, Melinda.
And Gates gave a TED Talk speech in 2015 warning people that an infectious virus was a greater risk to humanity than nuclear war. Various anti-vaccination groups and the conspiracy group QAnon now reportedly cite the video as supposed evidence of Gates' foreknowledge of the event.
Lead Stories has debunked numerous Gates rumors of that type: Gates did not patent the coronavirus. And he will not profit from a Covid-19 vaccine.
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told the New York Times, it is "distressing that people are spreading misinformation when we should all be looking for ways to collaborate and save lives."
Here are several recent fact checks by Lead Stories about Bill Gates:
Fact Check: Bill Gates Did NOT Admit That 700,000 People Will Be Harmed Or Killed By 'His' Coronavirus Vaccines
Fact Check: Bill Gates Did NOT Say The Catholic Religion May Have To Be Suspended Forever
Fact Check: Dr. Fauci Did NOT Serve On Microsoft's Board of Directors
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Reveal That Coronavirus Vaccine Was Patented By Bill Gates In 2006
Fact Check: Bill Gates, WHO & World Bank NOT 'Trumped' By President Amid Coronavirus
Fact Check: No Proof Is U.S. Planning to Force Vaccinations With Bill Gates Amid Coronavirus
Fact Check: India Is NOT Suing Bill Gates For Vaccination Deaths
Fact Check: Bill Gates Does NOT Have Access To Your DNA And Does NOT Have Ownership In WHO
Fact Check: Bill Gates Did NOT Write Open Letter Saying COVID-19 Reminds 'We Are All Equal'