In a new interview with 77 WABC's "Bernie & Sid In The Morning", legendary rocker Ted Nugent repeated a narrative pushed by conservative media and disputed by health experts that suggests the official death count from the coronavirus is inflated.
"The numbers that they're spewing — 150 thousand dead [in the U.S.] from the communist Chinese virus — wrong, wrong, lie," he said (hear audio below). "They have people stabbed between the eyes that list as a COVID death. They have people smashing the deer in the highway, decapitated — they list it as a COVID death. It's a lie. They're lying. And even Fox News, they're parroting the lies.
"Is there such a thing as a communist Chinese COVID Wuhan virus? Of course there is," he continued. "But somebody's gotta demand: show me how many Americans died in January, February, March, April and May of 2018. Then show me how many Americans died in January, February, March and April of 2019. Then show me how many Americans died in January, February, March, April, May and June of 2020. Compare the numbers. There are worse epidemics in the past — nothing got shut down.
"It's a leftist scam to destroy the president because he's spotlighting cockroaches," the musician added.
Nugent went on to apparently allude to a QAnon conspiracy theory making the rounds on social media falsely claims actor Tom Hanks became a citizen of Greece because it classifies pedophilia as a disability. QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that alleges the world is controlled by a small group of elites who are pedophiles and devil worshippers, has questioned Hanks's new Greek citizenship, implying that Hanks is involved in child sex trafficking.
"And then you might do a little research and see why Tom Hanks and his wife are now citizens of Greece," Nugent told "Bernie & Sid In The Morning". "Go ahead. Check into that for me."
There are theories that medical experts are inflating the number of coronavirus-related deaths to scare residents into complying with various states' executive orders, such as one that requires residents to wear masks in public places. There have also been claims that the lockdowns weren't designed for public health, but rather to destroy the Trump economy.
According to Forbes, the number of Americans who believe the death toll is inflated is highest among those who get their news from Fox News (61%) and Republicans (59%), while only 9% of Democrats and 7% of those getting their news from CNN and MSNBC believe the same.
Many health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the Trump administration's Coronavirus Task Force and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have rejected claims that coronavirus deaths are being exaggerated.