Rush Limbaugh Suggests Coronavirus Hospitalization Rates Are Being Overstated: 'Sounds Like a Small Number to Me'

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested that the media has been exaggerating hospitalization rates for COVID-19 as the virus continues to rapidly spread through America.

Limbaugh made the remarks on the Tuesday edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, claiming that some media reports of overcrowded hospitals and a stressed health care system were overblown.

"One of the things that interests me is the hospitalization numbers," Limbaugh said. "Because if you look at Drudge, if you look at the drive-by media, you would believe there is not a single hospital bed in this country, right? You have been led to believe that every hospital is overflowing. That dead bodies are in body bags and refrigerated trucks that are being parked off to landfills or whatever."

"There's just not a hospital bed around, the hospitals are overflowing. If you have to go to a hospital you may as just well pack it in and die," he added.

Limbaugh noted that he had researched current cases in his home area of Palm Beach county, Florida. He said that there were 514 cases with 11 deaths and 57 hospitalizations, suggesting that the virus was not having a severe impact on the county and extrapolating his findings to apply to the country as a whole. He claimed he could not find statistics for other areas.

"I want you to think of the way this is being reported, particularly about New York and other places where there's not a hospital bed to be had, where they're putting people in the hallways," Limbaugh said. "There's no ventilators. There's no nothing. We haven't got... we're just in bad shape out there. 514 cases, 57 hospitalizations. That sounds like a small number to me. Why aren't the hospitalization numbers being reported to us?"

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

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

The Florida Department of Health reported total cases in the state were just over 6,300 as of Tuesday, while New York state had more than 75,000 cases. The total number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is likely to sharply increase depending on how many patients have been tested and diagnosed with the virus.

Research published in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases on Monday also suggests that hospitalization rates vary with age. Although young adults diagnosed with the virus require hospitalization at low rates, the rate jumps to over 8 percent for people in their 50s and sharply increases from there, with more than 18 percent of people above 80 being admitted to hospitals.

Limbaugh previously claimed that "leftists" were hoping for the virus to result in a massive death toll so they could blame President Donald Trump. Limbaugh and the president appear to have a close relationship, with Trump awarding Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his State of the Union address on February 4.

"They would love for the coronavirus to be this deadly strain that wipes everybody out, so they could blame Trump for it," Limbaugh told his radio audience on February 25. "Don't doubt me on that."

One day earlier, Limbaugh had claimed that the virus was "the common cold," dismissed the notion that a pandemic could be declared and insisted that the virus had been "weaponized" to bring down Trump.

The World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11. As of Tuesday, global cases exceeded 850,000, with over 42,000 deaths and almost 177,000 recoveries. The U.S. total was more than 185,000, with over 3,700 deaths and 6,300 recoveries.

Limbaugh and Trump
Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh shakes hands with President Donald Trump at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida on December 21, 2019. Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty