- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2020

Fox News host Mark Levin disputed the notion the novel coronavirus killed 200,000 people in the U.S., referring to the grim figure from health officials as “the biggest lie this century.”

The conservative commentator rejected the death toll during Wednesday’s episode of his syndicated radio program and podcast fresh on the heels of having interviewed President Trump on his Fox show days earlier.

“We’ve hit — they say — an ominous number, ladies and gentlemen. Two hundred thousand people have died from the coronavirus. That is the biggest lie this century,” he told listeners of “The Mark Levin Show.”

“Two hundred thousand people died who may have had the coronavirus, but less than 10,000 died from and only from the coronavirus,” asserted Mr. Levin, a conservative commentator lauded often by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Levin cited as proof a report published by The Christian Post last month which said only 6% of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. mention COVID-19, the disease it causes, as the sole cause responsible.

He also shared that article to his more than 1.4 million followers on Facebook, boosting it further in a post that was later removed Thursday for violating the platform’s policy against harmful misinformation.

Public health officials have addressed similar reporting in the weeks since by clarifying the data and confirming the disease has indeed killed more than 200,000 people within the country so far this year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, previously explained the 6% refers to people who “had nothing else but just COVID” when they died from the disease.

“That does not mean someone with hypertension or diabetes, who dies of COVID, didn’t die of COVID-19 — they did,” Dr. Fauci said when those reports first circulated last month at the death toll was at 180,000.

The number of people to die in the U.S. from COVID-19 surpassed 200,000 this week, according to Johns Hopkins University. Close to 2% of the nation’s population has tested positive for the virus since January.

“The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering, and in some respects, stunning,” Dr. Fauci told CNN this week.

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), similarly reflected on the grim milestone while testifying Wednesday before the Senate Health Committee.

“As you are aware, in the United States we are approaching nearly seven million cases and sadly over 200,000 deaths. Every death means that a loved one was lost. But there is some progress to report,” he said.

The number of daily new cases of COVID-19 being reported has nearly halved since the pandemic peaked in July, and the number of related deaths is down nearly one-third, Dr. Redfield told senators.

Americans should take precautions such as wearing a mask while in public and practicing social distancing to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, he recommended.

In addition to his radio program and podcast, Mr. Levin has hosted a weekly show on Fox, “Life, Liberty & Levin,” since early 2018. He interviewed Mr. Trump on the program during its latest episode Sunday.

Media Matters for America first reported Mr. Levin’s remarks Wednesday.

Mr. Trump has shared, or retweeted, Mr. Levin’s posts on the social networking platform Twitter more than 30 times so far this year.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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