Bill Gates revealed Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, more than two years into a pandemic that the Microsoft co-founder has dedicated himself to better understanding and fighting.
Gates tweeted that he is experiencing mild symptoms and that he is “following the experts’ advice by isolating until I’m healthy again.” He added in a tweet thread that he is “fortunate to be vaccinated and boosted and have access to testing and great medical care.”
Gates, 66, first warned about the possibility of a COVID-type outbreak years ago, and he spent much of 2020 speaking to anyone who would listen about the precautions people needed to take to stem the spread of the disease after it arrived in the U.S early that year.
The billionaire philanthropist has been a leading advocate for a globally coordinated response to the pandemic. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for COVID-19 initiatives, including vaccine development and distribution.
As development of vaccines proceeded at an unprecedented pace, disinformation around the treatments and Gates’ involvement also spread, fueled by social media conspiracy theorists seizing on heightened political polarization in the U.S.
Among the outlandish theories spread online, some said Gates had a hand in developing vaccines with a microchip that would be implanted into anyone who was injected.
On Jan. 22, 2021, he received his first dose of vaccine against COVID, saying at the time, “I feel great,” as he tweeted a photo of himself getting the shot.
On Monday, he helped cut the ribbon at a new Seattle-area manufacturing facility for vaccines built by Inventprise, a biotech company supported with funds from the Gates Foundation. Gates is pictured with other unmasked attendees at the event.
Gates has a new book out titled “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic” in which he offers steps for ensuring that COVID-19 is the last of its kind.
“If there’s one thing the world has learned over the last two years, it’s that we can’t keep living with the threat of another variant — or another pathogen — hanging over our heads,” Gates says in a blog post about the book. “This is a pivotal moment. There is more momentum than ever before to stop pandemics forever.”
According to the The New York Times, reports of new coronavirus cases have doubled in the past month as Omicron subvariants have spread across the country.
Gates said Tuesday in his tweet thread that the Gates Foundation was gathering for the first time in two years and that he was “lucky to be on Teams to see everyone and thank them for their hard work.”