The COVID-19 pandemic did a pretty good job showing which musicians, celebrities, friends, and family members believe in science and which prefer conspiracy theories. But on the scale that tops out around Van Morrison, Ted Nugent is in a league of his own.
Long known as the rock ‘n roll’s uncle whom you wouldn’t want to be stuck next to at the Thanksgiving table, the guitar legend and borderline right-wing extremist hit the conspiracy-friendly forum of Facebook Live (and originally transcribed by Blabbermouth) yesterday to ponder one of the hardest questions for those who don’t have a basic knowledge of science or recent etymology: “Why were there no shutdowns for COVID-1 through -18?”
Of course, the factual answer to that question is that there never was a COVID-1, COVID-18, or any other COVID-number before, because the “19” in COVID-19 stands for the year (2019) in which it was discovered. But that doesn’t matter to the Nuge, who blamed production companies for canceling his tour plans for the year before calling them “dirty bastard, lying, scam, smoke-and-mirrors COVID-19 freaks.”
“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?” Nugent asked, while wearing a robe that looks like it could be from the Joe Exotic collection. “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 [Narrator: there wasn’t]. COVID-1 through -18 didn’t shut anything down, but whoa, COVID-19, even though it’s 99.8 percent survivable. Why didn’t we shut down for the AIDS epidemic or the flu or the Spanish Flu or the bird flu or the West Nile flu or influenza every year?”
In addition to being clueless about both the naming of COVID-19 and the historical impact of plagues like the Spanish Flu, Nugent also recited one of his favorite passages of the conspiracy theorist playbook by doubting the actual death toll from the disease.
“They claim 500,000 people have died from COVID-19,” Nugent 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.’ ‘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 and the crows be pecking at your flesh, but they made me put down COVID-19.'”
Of course, there’s a reason that Nugent is not a doctor. Hell, the closest he’s been to the medical field is probably being on the first page of Google results for “Cat Scratch Fever” (although after several medical sites). But you can still watch the nonsense-filled Facebook Live video below if you want to see just how off the rails he’s gone.