Half of Fox News viewers believe that Bill Gates wants to use a coronavirus vaccine to implant microchips into Americans for global surveillance, according to a recent survey,
According to a poll undertaken on by Yahoo News and YouGov, 50 per cent of those who took the poll and name the broadcaster as their primary television news source believe the coronavirus conspiracy about Mr Gates.
The theory rests on the belief that Mr Gates created the disease as a tool to vaccinate the population, secretly implant people with devices for surveillance and take control of the global health system.
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It originates from attempts to link the Mr Gates and the Melinda Gates Foundation to the outbreak, due to a multi-million dollar grant given to the research group by the foundation.
The funding does not prove of suggest that the Gates Foundation knew about the coronavirus outbreak in advance or played a role in causing it.
Only 26 per cent of Republicans identify the conspiracy theory as false while in comparison only to 19 per cent of Democrats said they believe the theory, according to the survey.
In addition, 44 per cent of 2016 Trump voters also said that they believe in the theory, which has been previously identified by fact checkers as false. Neither Fox News or Mr Trump has promoted the theory.
The survey used a nationally representative sample of 1,640 US adult residents and was weighted according to gender, age, race and education, as well as 2016 presidential vote, registration status and news interest.
In the poll, a broad majority of the public noted they were either “very” concerned or “somewhat” concerned about “false or misleading information being communicated about coronavirus”.
However, where exactly this false or misleading information comes from varies significantly depending on political persuasion.
Over half of Democrats selected the top source of misleading information as the Trump Administration but on the other hand over 50 per cent of Republicans point to the mainstream media, the poll says.
Only half of Americans surveyed say they intend to get vaccinated “if and when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available,” with only 44 per cent of Trump voters saying they would do so, despite the president himself pushing for a vaccine.
Anti vaccine protesters have become a growing force in the US and their growing presence at the protests worries public health experts.
The New York Times reported that many officials fear that anti vaccination messaging could derail the end to the pandemic if a large part of the population refuse to accept a vaccine.
Some experts also fear that conspiracy theories and anti vaccine rhetoric go hand in hand, with people opposing mandatory vaccines having swiftly adopted the Bill Gates conspiracy, according to the report.
People choosing to forgo vaccinations for their children could be devastating for public health during and after the coronavirus pandemic, medical experts say.
The US currently has more than 1.63m recorded cases of the coronavirus and has a death toll of over 95,000 as of Friday.