Tucker Carlson tells his audience the COVID-19 crisis is “easing” as models revise death estimates upwards

Fox News host Tucker Carlson wasted no time on his May 4 show before lying to his viewers, telling the audience that “the coronavirus epidemic appears to be easing” and that “there appears to be a lull.”

Video file

Citation From the May 4 edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight:

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Good evening and welcome to Tucker Carlson Tonight. The coronavirus epidemic appears to be easing for just a moment in this country. Many are still sick, some of those will die, but overall, for this moment anyway, there appears to be a lull. The death count yesterday was the lowest it has been in weeks. Now that could easily accelerate at some point, maybe soon, and some people are predicting it will. But the question remains for policymakers what to do next. Have mass quarantines successfully contained this virus? And growing scientific evidence suggests that they have not contained this virus very successfully.


Publicly available data clearly shows the exact opposite of Carlson’s disingenuous claim. 

The New York Times describes the COVID-19 crisis in the United States as “an unrelenting crush of cases and deaths,” with the number of cases “growing by 2 to 4 percent daily,”  and at least 1,000 people have died from the virus every day for the last month. The much-cited model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington recently doubled its projection with regard to the number of COVID-19-related deaths, estimating more than 134,000 lives lost by August; these revisions were driven by “an increasingly restless population and moves in many states to ease restrictions,” according to CNN. 

Throughout the pandemic, Fox News has encouraged behavior that could spread the virus-- promoting anti-stay-at-home protests, prematurely declaring the country safe to reopen, lying about the efficacy of social distancing, and attacking public health experts whose statements undermine the network’s dangerous political agenda.

Unlike Carlson, small-town hospitals do not have the luxury of lying to themselves about an imaginary “lull” in the crisis (especially given that many closed in recent years). CNBC reports that peaks in rural areas could be weeks away and will strain understaffed hospitals that “are already operating at full capacity.” This devastating reality belies a previous claim from Carlson, who argued without evidence last month that “the threat to rural America from this virus is minuscule.”

By downplaying the continued threat of the virus, Carlson is directly putting these vulnerable populations at risk.