During a new appearance on "The Mistress Carrie Podcast", GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna said that the coronavirus is not as deadly as health officials have made it out to be. "I'm sorry, man, and there may be some people that may get mad at me about saying this, but COVID is not a global killer," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "It's doing damage, and it's certainly affecting the elderly, and we pray for them, and we are really sympathetic towards that, and that's why we're all wearing masks, that's why we're all doing our job. Because there's a lot of us that aren't afraid of COVID, and we know that we're probably gonna blow right through it. But we don't wanna roll the dice with our loved ones, so we're being responsible. But at the same time, the reality is this isn't a global killer. It's gonna pass, we're gonna get past it, and we need to get back to normal. So we have to influence the strong to get out there and start working and start going to school and doing what they need to do so we can create population immunity. That's what's gonna get us through this. And then we'll be able to get back to normal."
Erna also repeated a narrative pushed by conservative media and disputed by health experts that suggested the official death count of 516,000 from the coronavirus in the U.S. was inflated.
"There's been a lot of things proven within the media, the news, to who's on what side of what, and whether some of this was a political agenda to begin within, whether the numbers are accurate enough to be able to base it on, those half a million people dead," Erna said. "Because there was a lot of people coming forward, a lot of doctors and everything, saying, 'Why the fuck are we being asked to put COVID on everything? Why did someone just die of pneumonia, and we have to write 'COVID'? Why did someone come in and have a heart attack, and we're being told to write 'COVID'?' So whether that half-a-million number is correct, that's the part that I feel like we need to be responsible enough to try and be optimistic about not steering people down one rabbit hole, because that's what CNN does on one side and Fox does on the other side. So CNN delivers one side of this, and Fox takes you down a different rabbit hole."
He continued: "The thing with COVID is I myself know at least — at least — a dozen, two dozen people, maybe, that have gotten COVID. And I have a friend of mine that, three months later, he's, like, 'I'm still having some issues. And it's weird — I'm getting dizzy spells. I'm getting this, that and the other thing. And what the fuck?' And then I know another group of people that were, like, 'Dude, I've had a hangover that was worse than this. I had a fever of 99 for about a day and a half and haven't had a problem since.' And so it affects everybody differently, and that's the big mystery."
Last year, there were theories that medical experts are inflating the number of coronavirus-related deaths to scare residents into complying with various states' executive orders, such as one that required residents to wear masks in public places. There have also been claims that the lockdowns weren't designed for public health, but rather to destroy the Trump economy.
According to Forbes, the number of Americans who believe the death toll is inflated is highest among those who get their news from Fox News (61%) and Republicans (59%), while only 9% of Democrats and 7% of those getting their news from CNN and MSNBC believe the same.
Many health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have rejected claims that coronavirus deaths are being exaggerated.
Erna has been more vocal about his political opinions in recent years, saying in a July 2020 episode of his Internet show "Hometown Sessions" that if "Trump stays in [office], COVID's gonna be a big, messy pain in the ass, and there's gonna be more people burning down Wendy's fucking restaurants. If Trump fucking is gone, all of a sudden they're gonna have this miracle vaccine that those fucking liars have been holding on to."
In February 2020, Erna came under fire for sharing a post that was flagged as part of Facebook's efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its news feed. The post in question criticized then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders's plan to raise the minimum wage and provide universal health care to all Americans. It also cited Sanders's Medicare For All plan, a single, national health insurance program that would cover everyone who lives in the United States.
Back in 2004, Erna revealed that he was not in favor of the Democratic candidate for president in that year's election, telling Launch Radio Networks: "I'm a Republican. I want Republican. I don't necessarily want [incumbent Republican president George W.] Bush to win. I don't like that choice, but I gotta tell you, I don't truly believe in the Democrats either, man. I don't like the way they think. I don't like, I don't love Bush, I'll tell you that, but I want a Republican in office."
White Republicans are more likely than any other group in the U.S. to be unsure or resistant to being vaccinated for COVID-19, according to recent polling from Civiq.