Conservative talk-radio host and recent Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Rush Limbaugh on Thursday floated the theory that deaths from coronavirus have been inflated so that governments could further “the policies they have put in place.”
Citing the latest record-breaking unemployment claims numbers at the top of his radio show, Limbaugh groused that the 10 million jobless claims filed over the past two weeks aren’t “enough for people like Bill Gates” and others who “want to shut down the entire country.”
After referencing recent White House modeling projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 U.S. deaths if the country adheres to current social-distancing guidelines, the right-wing talker then cited an article written by a pathologist to bolster the claim that governments could be fudging their numbers.
“Now, folks, don’t misunderstand, look, I’m not trying to stir anything up here,” Limbaugh insisted. “There’s all kinds of people speculating about things out there. I’m just giving you facts.”
Limbaugh went on to express interest in the theory “that with this new arrival of COVID-19, that coronavirus is being listed as a cause of death for many people who are not dying because of it.”
“They’re dying because of other things,” he added. “But it’s speculation. It’s fascinating.”
Limbaugh declared that he was now going to use the piece as his “daily briefing” rather than listen to “whatever the modelers are saying here,” applauding the “fascinating points” it brought up.
“It’s admittedly speculation, but his point, what if we are recording a bunch of deaths to coronavirus which really should not be chalked up to coronavirus?” Limbaugh wondered aloud. “People die on this planet every day from a wide variety of things.”
“But because the coronavirus is out there, got everybody paranoid, governments are eager, almost, to chalk up as many deaths to coronavirus as they can because then it furthers the policies they have put in place by virtue of their models,” he concluded.
Earlier this week, Limbaugh embraced a conspiracy theory that many right-wing figures have floated: that the number of coronavirus cases and their impact on hospitals was inflated. The evidence? Photographs and video showing some parking lots looking mostly empty.
“You have been led to believe that every hospital is overflowing,” he said at the time, adding, “So much of this has been politicized, folks, that it’s just impossible anymore to actually find factual truth.”
Limbaugh isn’t the only notable figure on the right who has now dipped his toe in coronavirus death-count trutherism. Citing a self-described “extreme salesman,” Fox News political analyst Brit Hume said New York’s “fatality numbers are inflated” because they “don’t distinguish between those who die with the disease and those who die from it.” Per Hume’s source, it would appear, people with underlying conditions who died after being infected by coronavirus should not count in the overall fatality numbers.
As of publication, per Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there have been 1,374 deaths from the coronavirus in New York City.