KEY POINTS

  • Musk supports the fake news being spread by right-wingers that the COVID-19 death toll is being falsified
  • He hasn't said why he supports this theory
  • "So the death rate is completely wrong," tweeted Musk

Elon Musk seems to be of the opinion that the COVID-19 death count is fake news and isn't as high as it's reported.

The reason for Musk's assumption remains unknown but tweets he sent out Sunday confirm his embrace of this completely repudiated claim. Right-wing Italian diehards continue to claim the national lockdown and strict movement restrictions being implemented in Italy to stem the spread of COVID-19 are actually government attempts to establish a dictatorship.

On April 25, Vittorio Sgarbi, a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, assailed prime minister Giuseppe Conte and his government for its lockdown response to the COVID-19 crisis. He claimed the government hugely inflated Italy's coronavirus death toll as an excuse to “establish a dictatorship."

Yelling at the top of his voice and ignoring orders to yield the floor, Sgarbi asserted 25,000 people did not die in Italy from COVID-19. He claimed Italy's Higher Institute of Health reported 96.3% of those who have died from COVID-19 actually died from other causes.

This means only 925 Italians have died of COVID-19, argued Sgarbi. The remaining 24,075 died from other causes. Italy reported 30,560 deaths as of 04:21 GMT (12.21 ET) on Monday.

Sgarbi is a member of the Forza Italia Party and comes from Emilia Romagna. The party head is former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

What Sgarbi forgot to mention is doctors agree the number of global deaths from COVID-19 are underestimates since they only cover deaths occurring in hospitals. Not included are deaths in nursing homes, care facilities and deaths at home, among others.

Sgarbi also failed to mention people listed as having died from COVID-19 were confirmed as having the disease. This confirmation was made using various tests such as RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) that detects the presence of specific genetic material from any pathogen, including a virus.

Someone with the twitter handle An0maly posted a video of Sgarbi's unhinged rant, commenting, "This Italian politician explains what @elonmusk, I & many others are telling the truth about. Even Birx & health officials admit it. The numbers are provably (sic) inflated!!!!! WATCH!"

To which Musk replied, "He is right."

Musk then sent two tweets to expand on this declaration. The first said, "If someone dies of any condition while having covid, it’s marked as a COVID death. So the death rate is completely wrong."

The second tweet said, "Absolutely. Moreover, they don’t even need to be tested for covid, just need “covid-like symptoms”, which is a long list, including “feeling weakness”. Hard to die *without* feeling weakness!"

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is seen at an appearance on March 9, 2020, in Washington D.C. Photo: APF/Brendan Smialowski