That’s the claim in a 12 April 2020 post on Facebook in Kenya.
“Melinda Gates, renowned billionaire Gates wife says the lack of testing kits in Africa is the reason why the continent’s Novel Coronavirus cases are low, and this will make Africa have dead bodies lying on the streets,” the post says.
“Covid-19 will be horrible in the developing world, she said. My heart is in Africa. I am worried. The only reason why the reported cases of the coronavirus disease in Africa is low now is most likely because there have not been wide testing of people. The disease is going to bite hard on the continent. I see dead bodies in the streets of Africa, Melinda said.”
Did Gates say this?
‘Look at Ecuador’
“It’s going to be horrible in the developing world. And part of the reason you’re seeing that case numbers don’t look very bad is because they don’t have access to very many tests,” she said.
“So, look at Ecuador. Look at what’s going on in Ecuador. They’re putting bodies out on the street. You’re going to see that in countries in Africa.”
Early April saw several media reports of coronavirus victims’ bodies being left on the street in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city. The city is said to be the “emerging epicentre” of Latin America’s Covid-19 outbreak.
Coronavirus led to ‘first thoughts’ about Africa
The Gates Foundation works in health, infectious diseases, water and sanitation programmes in African countries.
In the interview, Gates said that after seeing the extent of China’s lockdown – and the logistics required – her “first thoughts” were about how Africa would handle the pandemic. “How in the world are they going to deal with these?”
Washing your hands and keeping a social distance from other people are two of the best ways to avoid coronavirus infection. They are encouraged by the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and African governments.
But Gates pointed out that these basic measures are nearly impossible for people living in slum conditions.
“If you live in a slum, you can’t physical distance, you have to go out and get your meal, you don’t have clean water to wash your hands,” she said.
Gates did say that a lack of resources meant that African countries could, like Ecuador, see people putting the bodies of coronavirus victims out on the street.
Some websites have suggested Gates said the streets of African countries “will be littered with dead bodies” or have “piles of dead bodies”, or that she even “wants dead bodies on the streets of Africa”. This is inaccurate. – Dancan Bwire
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.
Fighting coronavirus misinformation
Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the alliance here.
© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.