- The Washington Times
Thursday, April 9, 2020

Rush Limbaugh cried foul Thursday after top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that far fewer Americans may die from the novel coronavirus than previously thought.

The conservative radio host and recent Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient said during the latest episode of “The Rush Limbaugh Show” that Americans are “owed an explanation” after Dr. Fauci recently slashed the projected number of deadly U.S. coronavirus cases, flatly rejecting the medical specialist’s reasoning that mitigation efforts have worked.

“I’m gonna start calling BS on this,” Mr. Limbaugh said during his syndicated radio show.

“I just don’t believe social distancing has suddenly changed the data that lowers the forecast death toll from 240,000 to 60,000,” added Mr. Limbaugh. “We’re not stupid here.”

Dr. Fauci, a longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases leading the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, warned last week that between 100,000 and 240,000 people may die in the U.S. after contracting COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the highly contagious novel coronavirus.

But speaking to NBC in an interview aired Thursday morning, Dr. Fauci said that social distancing practices recommended for slowing the spread of COVID-19 seem to be panning out.

“The real data are telling us it is highly likely we are having a definite positive effect by the mitigation things that we’re doing, this physical separation,” Dr. Fauci said on the “Today” show.

“I believe we are going to see a downturn in that, and it looks more like the 60,000, than the 100,000 to 200,000” projected deaths, said Dr. Fauci. “But having said that, we better be careful that we don’t say: ‘OK, we’re doing so well we could pull back.’”

The World Health Organization reported becoming aware of the novel coronavirus in late 2019, and over 1.5 million people have contracted COVID-19 in the few months that followed.

More than 16,000 people have died in the U.S. after contracting COVID-19 since the first domestic case of the disease was reported in January, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Fauci has been a vocal proponent in the interim of social distancing practices meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as maintaining a minimum of six feet of space from others and avoiding groups of people.

Mr. Limbaugh, 69, was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during President Trump’s latest State of the Union address in early February.

An outspoken supporter of the president, Mr. Limbaugh caused a stir several weeks later when he falsely said that COVID-19 is the same as the common cold and that Democrats and the media were “weaponizing” the pandemic to “bring down” Mr. Trump.

More recently, Mr. Limbaugh claimed last week that governments are inclined to inflate the number of people killed by COVID-19 to advance political agendas.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.