Ted Nugent asks “why weren’t we shut down for COVID-1 through -18?”

The controversial rocker seemingly misunderstood COVID-19’s name during a Facebook live stream.

Ted Nugent

Image: Scott Legato / Getty

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Controversial rocker Ted Nugent has asked why the previous 18 COVIDs before COVID-19 did not have such a dire impact on events. His comments have been met with confusion, as COVID-19 is named such because it was discovered in the year 2019, not because it is the 19th COVID variant.

Speaking in one of his regular Facebook Live broadcasts, Nugent discussed the cancellation of his upcoming tour, and expressed anger at the situation. “This year’s tour is cancelled again,” he said, before describing the involved production companies as “dirty bastard, lying, scam, smoke-and-mirrors COVID-19 freaks.”

He expanded on his assertion that the restrictions relating to the current global pandemic are a “scam,” saying: “I would ask you, because I’m addicted to truth, logic and common sense, and my common sense meter would demand the answer to, ‘why weren’t we shut down for COVID-1 through -18?’”

“There was a COVID-1, and there was a COVID-2, -3, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, -12, -13, -14, -15, -16, -17, -18. COVID-1 through -18 didn’t shut anything down, but woah, COVID-19 [did], even though it’s 99.8 per cent survivable.”

Nugent’s assertion that there have been 18 previous COVID variants is untrue. According to the CDC, “COVID-19” is a shortening of “coronavirus disease 2019.” This name refers to the disease caused by the actual virus, the official name of which is “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”, or SARS-CoV-2 for short.

Nugent’s claim that the virus is “99.8 per cent survivable” is also disputed. The exact death rate is hard to decisively state as the pandemic continues, and varies depending on a number of factors including age, weight, pre-existing conditions and ethnic group.

During Nugent’s Facebook Live stream, he also suggested that death figures due to the pandemic have been inflated due to pressure on doctors to assign deaths to COVID-19. “They claim five hundred thousand people have died from COVID-19 [in the USA],” he said. “Bullshit. I believe that medical examiners in all 50 states have gone, ‘I put down on the death certificate that he died of asphyxiation, but they made me put COVID.’”

He then offered some other potential scenarios. “Well, this guy was stabbed to death, but they made me put down COVID.’ ‘This guy was run over by a tandem gravel truck doing a four-wheel drift… but they made me put down COVID-19.’”

The current official estimate for the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the USA is over 559,000, with almost 31 million total cases. False information surrounding these numbers, their origin and other aspects of the pandemic has been widespread over the past year, ranging from scepticism to conspiracy theories.

Back in November of last year, health experts disputed Donald Trump’s claim that COVID-19 deaths were being overcounted. Jeff Engel, senior adviser for COVID-19 at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, said: “Public health is charged with the duty to collect accurate, timely and complete data. We’re not incentivised to overcount or undercount for any political or funding reason.”

Dr Sally Aiken, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, stated: “Medical examiners and coroners in the US are not organised enough to have a conspiracy. There are 2,300 jurisdictions. That’s not happening.”

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