The fortunes of United States billionaires rose 15 percent in the two months since the coronavirus pandemic hit, a study found, with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg seeing massive gains.
The biggest gains were at the top of the billionaire pyramid, with the richest five billionaires - Bezos, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison - seeing combined wealth gains of $76 billion.
Among the top earners is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, whose earning jumped by 48% in the two months of lockdwon to $36 billion. Other billionaires who saw their financial portfolio grow include former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg; tech billionaire Michael Dell; media titan Rupert Murdoch; and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
According to the report, the net worth of America's billionaires soared by 15% during the two-month period of lockdown apparently amounting to $3.382 trillion from the previous $2.948 trillion.
The total net worth of these billionaires rose $434 billion (roughly Rs. 32.97 lakh crore) between March 18 and May 19 as coronavirus pandemic claimed jobs and caused economic agony to millions of Americans, according to research by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies' Program for Inequality.
"The pandemic has revealed the deadly consequences of America's yawning wealth gap, and billionaires are the glaring symbol of that economic inequality", Frank Clemente, ATF's executive director, said in a statement.
Tech stocks have continued to rise, with both Facebook and Amazon hitting new all-time highs this week.
However, not every US billionaire benefited during the pandemic.
The nation's No. 1 and No. 3 billionaires - Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg - added almost nearly $60 billion to their fortunes over two months, representing about 14 percent of the total growth, according to the think tanks' analysis of Forbes data.
The surge in wealth came as more than 38 million people applied for unemployment benefits in nine weeks with widespread lockdown measures forcing businesses to close and lay off workers.
A man wearing a face mask walks past a sign "Now Hiring" in front of a store amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 14, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.