Australian poll finds 1 in 8 blame Bill Gates and 5G for coronavirus

Misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic is being believed more often with young people, an Essential poll has said.

bill-gates-shutterstock.jpg

Since leaving his position at Microsoft, Gates has dedicated most of his life to philanthropic efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded grants for everything from disease control to agricultural development worldwide.

Image: Shutterstock / Frederic Legrand - COMEO

When it comes to believing stupid conspiracy theories related to coronavirus, young Australians are the most susceptible, or at least that's what they're telling pollsters.

According to a poll [PDF] conducted by Essential Research, one-fifth of all 18 to 34-year olds said they had some belief that Bill Gates was involved in the creation and spread of coronavirus, with the same number responding positive to the question: "The 5G wireless network is being used to spread the COVID-19 virus".

These numbers decreased with age, with 13% of 35 to 54-year olds responding positively to the theories, and only 4% and 8% of the 55+ cohort, respectively, subscribed to the 5G nutbaggery and Gates idiocy.

Broken down by gender, 15% of the 524 male respondents said they believed in the 5G conspiracy, compared to 9% of the 549 female respondents, while the gender split was 14% and 13%, respectively, on the Gates theory.

In total, the poll indicated that just under one in eight respondents, 12%, believed 5G has been used in the coronavirus pandemic, while 13% subscribed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates playing "a role in the creation and spread of COVID-19".

Almost 40% of respondents said they believed coronavirus was created in a lab in Wuhan, the same number against the idea, and 77% said they believed the outbreak in China was worse than official statistics shown by Beijing.

See also: Facebook comments manifest into real world as neo-luddites torch 5G towers

On Tuesday morning, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher attempted to slap down any link between 5G and the virus, saying that spreading such misinformation was irresponsible, dangerous, and potentially harmful to the community.

"Any suggestions that there is a link between 5G and coronavirus are utterly baseless. As the Chief Medical Officer has said, 5G does not cause the coronavirus and it does not spread coronavirus," Fletcher said.

Fletcher also said that attacking mobile towers was a criminal offence.

"The Australian Government will not tolerate any vandalism of communications infrastructure and I urge Australians to report any suspicious activity to their local police," he said.

"Causing damage to mobile phone networks can cut vital connectivity, risking serious harm, even death, if a person is unable to contact Triple Zero."

As states around Australia seek to lift restrictions, the poll found around a quarter of respondents thought that government should let people back in workspaces and restaurants within the next month; another quarter said by the end of June and 25% said it was too soon to lift restrictions.

Only 9% said restrictions should be lifted as soon as possible.

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