Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told a group of young Republicans during a virtual meeting that the flu killed more people than the coronavirus, WRAL reports. PolitiFact, a fact-checker, determined this claim was false.
The misinformation is part of a larger pattern voters are seeing from Dan Forest. The gubernatorial candidate has second-guessed and criticized Governor Cooper’s response to the coronavirus pandemic from the beginning. Despite his attempts to take a contrarian position, North Carolinians overwhelmingly support Governor Cooper and his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the Tar Heel state.
In the conversation, Forest said:
“You know, we’ve still had more deaths to the flu this year than we’ve had COVID-19,” Forest said, adding: “There’s been about three times more deaths for HIV/AIDS, remember that was a pandemic at one time that still has no vaccine. This one’s bad. It’s obviously worse than the normal flu year, but it hasn’t hit the extremes of other pandemics yet.”
WRAL provided three reasons why Forest was wrong:
- He compared diseases that entered the United States at different times.
- When it comes to flu deaths across the U.S., he based his claim on an estimate — and cherry-picked the worst case scenario from that estimate.
- He overlooked data from his home state, where publicly available information showed there had been more COVID-19 deaths than flu deaths.
Ultimately, PolitiFact rated Forest’s claim “false.”
Read the full Forest fact-check from WRAL.