Rush Limbaugh claims the 'common cold' coronavirus is an effort to ‘get Trump’

Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed on his show Monday that the potentially lethal coronavirus afflicting several countries is nothing more than a “common cold” blown out of proportion by the media to take down President Donald Trump ― even as he also asserted it was a “bioweapon” created by China in a laboratory.

“It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump,” Limbaugh said at the start of his lengthy, misinformation-filled rant.

“Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. ... I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”

Coronaviruses comprise a large family of many viruses, ranging in severity from the common cold to more severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an epidemic that infected more than 8,000 people in 2003. A novel coronavirus, such as the current COVID-19 outbreak, is a new strain of the virus that has previously not been identified in humans, the World Health Organization clearly explains on its site.

Limbaugh, though, chose to go off on his own tangent.

“The drive-by media hype of this thing as a pandemic, as the Andromeda strain, as, ‘Oh, my God. If you get it, you’re dead...’ I think the survival rate is 98%,” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of people who get the coronavirus survive. It’s a respiratory system virus.”

The mortality rate is not yet known, according to WHO. The organization’s latest situation report confirms 79,331 infections globally and 2,618 deaths, both widely reported figures. 

Citing a debunked conspiracy theory, Limbaugh then claimed the disease was probably a “laboratory experiment” conducted by Chinese officials that is “in the process of being weaponized.”

Experts have repeatedly said that this theory, pushed in conservative circles, has no scientific basis.

“There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered,” Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told The Washington Post. “The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.”

Limbaugh insisted that the disease is being “weaponized by virtue of the media” in an “effort to bring down Trump,” doing so by scaring investors into cashing out of the stock market. (Global markets fell sharply on Monday after the novel coronavirus surged in countries outside of China, raising concerns about the threat the outbreak poses to the global economy).

To wrap up his monologue, Limbaugh declared the coverage of the outbreak represents an effort by the media to show that “Trump and capitalism are destroying America and destroying the world.” 

He also worked in a reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during his diatribe, saying the Democratic presidential candidate wants to transform the U.S. into a “mirror image of” the country in which the novel coronavirus was first detected in humans ― China. 

“It didn’t come from an American lab,” Limbaugh said. “It didn’t escape from an American research lab. It hasn’t been spread by Americans. It starts out in a communist country. Its tentacles spread all across the world in numbers that are not big and not huge, but they’re being reported as just the opposite.”

Earlier this month, Limbaugh revealed that he had advanced lung cancer. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump during the president’s State of the Union address the following day.

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Radio show host Rush Limbaugh speaks at a forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation, on the similarities between the war on terrorism and the television show "24," in Washington June 23, 2006. REUTERS/Micah Walter (UNITED STATES)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 09: Rudy Guiliani, Marvin Shanken, Rickie Fowler and Rush Limbaugh during the Ernie Els Els for Autism pro-am at the Old Palm CC on March 9, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is seen in this police booking mug shot taken on April 28, 2006. Limbaugh turned himself in to police in Florida on Friday and was charged with prescription drug fraud as part of a probe that began more than two years ago, authorities said. Limbaugh was released on $3,000 bail after being held for about one hour at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office/Handout
PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Kate Rogers and Rush Limbaugh attend the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 18: Radio talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh looks on from the sideline before a National Football League game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 18, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 13-10. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
- FEBRUARY 1: (L-R) Rush Limbaugh, Hulk Hogan and Nick Hogan attend Haute Living and Rolls Royce Superbowl Party Benefinting Bay Point Schools at Private Residence on February 1, 2007. (Photo by Tom Grizzle/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 10: Rush Limbaugh plays during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 10, 2014 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 6: Radio talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh acknowledges cheers from fans as he stands on the sideline before a National Football League game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 6, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 23-20. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 27: Two of the judges in the 2010 Miss America Pageant, saxophonist Dave Koz (L) and radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, speak during a news conference for the judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant will be held at the resort on January 30, 2010. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NOVI, MI - MAY 3: Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaks at 'An Evenining With Rush Limbaugh' event May 3, 2007 in Novi, Michigan. The event was sponsored by WJR radio station as part of their 85th birthday celebration festivities. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
THE JAY LENO SHOW -- Air Date 09/24/2009 -- Episode 9 -- Pictured: (l-r) Political talk show host Rush Limbaugh, host Jay Leno outside by the Jay Leno Show racetrack on September 24, 2009 -- Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank
LOS ANGELES - JULY 6, 2005: Rush Limbaugh poses for a Portrait on July 6th, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 27: Four of the judges in the 2010 Miss America Pageant (L-R) singer/songwriter Brooke White, gymnast Shawn Johnson, radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and Miss America 2002 Katie Harman pose after a news conference for the judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant will be held at the resort on January 30, 2010. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh takes a break and smokes a cigar during his radio show. (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)
Rush Limbaugh points to the audience during his television show. (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh prepares for his program at KSEV radio station in Houston. Limbaugh is known for his controversial conservative politics. (Photo by � Shepard Sherbell/CORBIS SABA/Corbis via Getty Images)
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Radio talk show host and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh looks on before introducing President Donald Trump to deliver remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, Mo, on Nov. 5, 2018. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Krystal Ball, the former MSNBC host who now works as a news anchor for The Hill, is firing back at Rush Limbaugh after the conservative radio host alleged that she’d posted nude photos of herself on “Facebook or MySpace or you know, MyButt” when she “was 14 or 15.”
Krystal Ball, the former MSNBC host who now works as a news anchor for The Hill, is firing back at Rush Limbaugh after the conservative radio host alleged that she’d posted nude photos of herself on “Facebook or MySpace or you know, MyButt” when she “was 14 or 15.”
(Photo: Getty)
Progressive talk show host Krystal Ball slams Rush Limbaugh for 'slut shaming' her with false claim
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h/t Media Matters.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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