Washington, November 18: Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates lashed out at the anti-maskers, calling their demand to be exempted from wearings face covers as "weird". Further hitting out at those refusing to wear masks despite the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, Gates said their behaviour is akin to "nudists".

The Microsoft co-founder expressed his disgust towards a section of the population in various countries who have led rallies against the mandatory use of face masks and maintenance of social distance. He drew parallels between those refusing to wear mask and those who object to wearing of pants. COVID-19 Face Masks Can Trigger Skin Allergies: Study.

"We ask you to wear pants and, you know, no American says — or very few Americans say — that that’s, like, some terrible thing," he said, during a conversation with comedian Rashida Jones.

"I mean, what are these, like, nudists?" asked Gates, as he called the demand raised by anti-maskers as "weird". He, however, noted that the public opinion in America is shifting in favour of mass usage of face masks.

Gates, during the interview, also expressed his agreement with a recent research undertaken by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on the use of face coverings or masks. The research claimed that if everyone in the US would have wore masks, “over 100,000 deaths" due to COVID-19 could have been averted.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 18, 2020 08:16 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).