Bill Gates can’t understand people who don't wear masks: ‘What are these, like nudists?’
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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.

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A new Gallup poll found a significant increase in the number of Americans who identify as LGBT since the last time it conducted a similar poll in 2017.

The poll found that 5.6% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. That's a large increase from the 2017 poll that had the number at 4.5%.

"More than half of LGBT adults (54.6%) identify as bisexual. About a quarter (24.5%) say they are gay, with 11.7% identifying as lesbian and 11.3% as transgender. An additional 3.3% volunteer another non-heterosexual preference or term to describe their sexual orientation, such as queer or same-gender-loving," the poll says.

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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

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It's amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.

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PPE masks were the last thing on Leah Holland of Georgetown, Kentucky's mind on March 4, 2020, when she got a tattoo inspired by the words of a close friend.

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