Conspiracy theories that Bill Gate's COVID-related philanthropy is a thinly veiled attempt to track people's movements are laughable, the Microsoft founder said Friday—but they're "tragic," he added, if they prevent individuals from getting vaccinated.
"Simple explanations are kind of fun to click on, and they seem to spread," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper.
"Rather than this complex biology, maybe there's some bad person behind this," he added, expounding on theorists' line of thinking.
Hoax-debunking website Snopes.com has an entire section devoted to dispelling myths related to COVID and Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation has donated $2 billion to fighting the pandemic since January 2020, according to its website. Among them: that Bill Gates briefed the CIA about a mind-altering vaccine in 2005, and that he told George magazine in 1997 that an "over-populated planet" would fall to a "lung-attacking virus."
"The one about tracking people—I don't know why they think I'm interested in knowing people's locations," he said. "That one I still have to laugh at. But if it's holding people back from getting vaccinated, then that's tragic."
Nearly 70% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, or 221 million individuals, according to Our World in Data.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com