Rush Limbaugh Claims Governments Are Inflating Coronavirus Deaths to Further their Policies

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has claimed that the COVID-19 death toll is being exaggerated by governments "eager" to use modeling predictions to further their policies.

Limbaugh made the remarks on the Thursday edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show. He insisted that models used to predict the spread of disease were helping promote government policies, although he did not define which policies he meant or who exactly was behind the alleged scheme.

"People die on this planet every day from a wide variety of things," said Limbaugh. "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."

Limbaugh suggested that many reported COVID-19 deaths could be from other causes instead. Most medical experts believe that the virus is likely underreported due to limited testing and other factors.

Newsweek reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

In addition to unnamed government figures, Limbaugh said that a host of other people, including Bill Gates, were less than concerned about the economic impact of the pandemic and were hoping to "shut down the entire country" by exaggerating dangers posed by the rapid spread of the virus.

The host insisted that he wasn't trying to "stir things up" with the remarks, claiming that he was just giving viewers "facts."

Rush Limbaugh
Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh attends President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. on February 4, 2020. Drew Angerer/Getty

Limbaugh also cited speculation by Dr. John Lee, a retired British pathologist who claims that deaths attributed to COVID-19 could be from other illnesses. Lee disagrees with a large majority of experts in claiming that the virus is not much worse than the seasonal flu while maintaining that health officials are "overreacting" to the pandemic.

"He's concerned 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," Limbaugh said. "They're dying because of other things. But it's speculation."

Limbaugh closed the segment by admitting that he hadn't spent much time thinking about his remarks, insisting that everything on his radio show and his personal life is spontaneous.

"Everything's spontaneous on this program, folks. I'm a spontaneous person. I don't plan very much in advance, in my life at all," Limbaugh said. "I want to leave the option open for something better to come up... I plan so little in advance, I actually don't even need a calendar."

On Tuesday, the host claimed that U.S. hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 were being exaggerated by the "drive-by media" as part of an unspecified agenda.

"They're clearly trying to create the impression that we don't have any hospitals," said Limbaugh. "We're so overflowing with cases that we don't have any hospitals."

Cases of COVID-19 passed 1 million globally on Thursday, with over 53,000 deaths and 212,000 recoveries. The U.S. leads the world in confirmed infections, with more than 240,000 cases representing more than double the totals in hard-hit countries like Italy and Spain.

Limbaugh has also claimed that concerns about the virus have been "weaponized" to attack President Donald Trump and likened the disease to nothing more than a "common cold."