Bill Gates can’t understand people who don't wear masks: ‘What are these, like nudists?’
via Sam Churchill / Flickr

Like many of us, Bill Gates can't understand why some people are opposed to wearing masks. The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist has been involved in public health for decades and a vocal advocate for masks throughout the pandemic.

The numbers don't lie. Mask mandates have helped lower COVID-19 infection rates and studies show that if every American masked up, we could save 63,000 lives by March.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of Americans who are opposed to wearing masks because they believe they infringe on their individual liberties.

In doing so, they also put countless lives at risk because they continue to help spread the infection.


Gates shared his frustration with anti-maskers on his new podcast with actor Rashida Jones: "Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions."

"The idea that somebody's resisting wearing a mask, that is such a weird thing to me," the billionaire told Jones on the first episode of their podcast.

"What are these, like, nudists?" he said. "I mean, you know, we ask you to wear pants, and no American says, or very few Americans say, that that's, like, some terrible thing."

"If you want to get back to normal life anytime sooner, wear a mask, or don't wear a mask and stay at home," Jones said. "But, like, to ask for both things feels like you just want things to be better and they're not, so you kind of just have to deal with what it is."

"The mask helps you open up more things," Gates said. The philanthropist believes many underestimate the risks of COVID-19, because they think it spreads like a cold or flu.

"These unbelievable viral loads that you see with coronavirus don't occur with most of the other respiratory viruses," Gates said.

If someone with a cold spent an hour in a room full of people, most would remain healthy. However, with COVID-19. a "high percentage" of people would catch the virus. "That's like measles," he said.

On the podcast, he also addressed the mixed messages health officials sent about masks in the beginning of the pandemic. "Our model of 'flu with coughing' turned out to be wrong," he added.

But now, Gates said, "it's overwhelmingly clear that the upside" of wearing a mask "is gigantic."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also appeared on the show. He offered some words of encouragement to those having a hard time coping with pandemic stress.

"One of the things we're dealing with is a degree of essentially fatigue that people have about going through this," Fauci said. "It's amazing. It's almost like a distortion of time, Rashida."

"I want to tell people, 'Don't give up," Fauci added. "This is going to end. Science is going to help us with a vaccine and therapy, and if we pay attention to the public-health measures, we can gain control of it.'"

The vaccine is on the way and the therapeutics for treating COVID-19 are helping more people survive the virus. But it's hard not to imagine an America where it wasn't allowed to thrive because far too many people mistook inconvenience for tyranny.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."