Rush Limbaugh dismissed warnings about a second wave of coronavirus infections as the number of Americans killed by the disease it causes reached a grim new milestone Wednesday.
The conservative radio host read aloud several recent headlines about increases in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and China, and then he told listeners not to believe those reports.
A vocal supporter of President Trump, Mr. Limbaugh also repeated his claim that members of the media are exaggerating the outbreak in order to hurt his reelection campaign.
“There is no pretense of doing news, there’s no pretense. The only thing that’s happening is destroy Donald Trump, destroy Trump voters, destroy the Republican Party, reelect Democrats. That’s all that’s going on. You cannot believe this stuff. You can’t believe the virus numbers,” he said on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”
Mr. Limbaugh, whose syndicated radio show is heard by millions, was referring to several headlines carried on the conservative-leaning Drudge Report website that day about recent spikes in cases of COVID-19, the contagious disease the novel coronavirus causes, that have raised concerns about a second wave of infections potentially occurring.
Among the headlines Mr. Limbaugh mentioned were several about a new COVID-19 outbreak erupting in China, where the coronavirus was first discovered late last year, as well as a headline about a record number of COVID-19 cases being reported in six U.S. states.
He also alleged that members of the media are not alone in lying about the outbreak’s toll.
“Look, the hospitals have every incentive to call every patient a virus patient because they get money for it,” Mr. Limbaugh added. “The press, the media, has every incentive to hurt Trump. And the people counting and adding up all these numbers, they have issues with counting and they are hiding their math. The modelers the projections, we are not getting the truth out of anything.”
More than 8.4 million people worldwide have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., more than 2.1 million have tested positive for COVID-19, including over 590,000 who recovered and more than 118,000 who died, according to the university.
Notably, Mr. Limbaugh told listeners not to “believe the virus number” on the heels of its U.S. death toll this week surpassing the number of Americans killed in World War One.
Mr. Limbaugh, 69, has been highly skeptical of the coronavirus since well before it began to ravage the U.S. He falsely claimed in February that it is the “common cold,” and that it was being “weaponized” by the media to damage Mr. Trump, who had awarded the radio host the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, earlier that month.
He has wrongly equated it to the cold several more times since, and he has also regularly attacked the credibility of public health officials leading the White House’s medical response to the coronavirus pandemic — all while apparently in frequent contact with Mr. Trump.
“The president calls me once a week just to see how I’m doing,” Mr. Limbaugh said in April.