Pop star John Legend has falsely claimed in an interview with GQ that the United States has the highest coronavirus death rate in the world, when in fact several European countries exceed the U.S. in terms of deaths per 100,000 people.
GQ hasn’t corrected Legend’s erroneous assertion or offered any clarification in the article. The pop star also lashed out at President Donald Trump in the interview, calling his handling of the global pandemic “so ridiculously dumb and so ridiculously selfish and narcissistic at the same time.”
John Legend made his comments in an interview with GQ Hype — the digital weekly from British GQ magazine — to promote his upcoming album Bigger Love. When asked about the White House’s plan of action to fight the pandemic, Legend lashed out repeatedly at the commander in chief.
“He’s the exact opposite of what we need right now. It couldn’t be a worse person to be in charge right now than him and that’s what America is stuck with,” Legend said. “And that’s why we have the highest death rate in the world from this disease.”
In fact, the U.S. doesn’t have the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world. In terms of deaths per 100,000 people, the U.S. ranks seventh, behind such countries as Belgium, Spain, Italy, and France, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
The center also found that the U.S. ranks ninth in the world in terms of the number of COVID-19 deaths per 100 confirmed cases. The statistics don’t take into account coronavirus deaths in China, whose official figures are widely suspected of being fake.
GQ, which is owned by Conde Nast, didn’t respond to a request asking why the reporter failed to correct Legend or why editors didn’t offer any clarification.
In the interview, Legend also claimed that President Trump “doesn’t listen to scientists and makes every decision on how it will benefit him personally.” But Dr. Anthony Fauci said last month that the president listened to his advice when he recommended that mitigation efforts be taken to stop the spread of the virus.
“The first and only time that I went in and said we should do mitigation strongly, the response was, ‘yes, we’ll do it,’” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a White House briefing in April.
John Legend, who endorsed Elizabeth Warren’s failed bid for the White House, told GQ that he thinks President Trump’s actions will prolong the pandemic.
“I don’t believe we’re going to be out of the woods for a while, because of his incompetence, his selfishness, his short-sightedness and his inability to coordinate a real national response.”