Screenshot via Fox & Friends
In a Friday appearance on "Fox & Friends," Liberty University President and Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr. said that Liberty will continue holding in-person classes.
In the same segment, Falwell falsely claimed that the media is overhyping the threat of COVID-19 specifically to hurt Trump and suggested that the virus is a bioweapon concocted by North Korea.
There are now over 1,700 reported cases and 41 deaths from the coronavirus reported in the United States throughout 44 states and Washington, DC.
In a Friday morning appearance on "Fox & Friends," Liberty University President and staunch Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr. announced that Liberty, a Christian University in Virginia, will continue holding in-person classes as colleges around the country move to online classes to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
In the same segment, Falwell falsely suggested that concern about the COVID-19 is overblown, and that the media is overhyping it specifically to hurt Trump. He also claimed without evidence that the virus is a bioweapon concocted by North Korea and China to target Trump.
The outbreak of the new coronavirus has now spread to 118 countries and regions, infecting an estimated 128,000 people with over 4,700 deaths reported worldwide. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic.
There are now over 1,700 reported cases and 41 deaths from the coronavirus reported in the United States throughout 44 states and Washington, DC, many of which have declared a state of emergency over the diseases' rapid spread.
"It's just strange to me how so many are overreacting. The H1N1 virus in 2009 killed 17,000 people, it was the flu also I think, and there was not the same level of hype. You just didn't see it on the news 24/7 and it makes you wonder if there's a political reason for that," Falwell said.
Falwell said that media coverage of the virus is a plot specifically to take out Trump, saying: "Impeachment didn't work, the Mueller report didn't work, article 25 didn't work, maybe this is their next attempt to get Trump."
—Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) March 13, 2020
Not only has the virus hit other countries incredibly hard, but public health experts say that COVID-19 spreads faster and is far deadlier than the flu, especially for older Americans and those with underlying health conditions. And unlike the seasonal flu, there is no vaccine for COVID-19.
"The seasonal flu we deal with every year has a mortality of 0.1%. The stated mortality overall of this when you look at all the data, including China, is about 3%, it first started off as 2 and now 3. I think if you count all the cases of minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic, that probably brings the mortality down to around 1%. Which means this is ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Wednesday congressional hearing.
In his Fox appearance, Falwell Jr. then suggested that the virus is a North Korean-linked bioweapon, saying, "I had the owner of a restaurant ask me, 'remember when the North Korean leader promised a Christmas present for America back in December, could it be that they got together with China and this is that present? I don't know, but this is something strange going on."
There is no evidence to support Falwell Jr.'s claim that the virus is a bioweapon designed to hurt Trump, or that North Korea played any role in the original outbreak of the virus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China.
Throughout the crisis, misinformation similar to the kind that Falwell invoked has been given airtime on conservative media, where prominent personalities have downplayed the virus' severity and argued that the media and "the deep state" are playing on fears of the virus to specifically hurt Trump.