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Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, once called the concern about coronavirus “irrational.” That was two weeks and (arguably) several lifetimes ago.

Like so many ignorant people, he compared the COVID-19 pandemic to the flu, ignoring all the important ways the two are different. (For example, there’s currently no vaccine for COVID-19, much less herd immunity.)

He has since changed his mind.

On an episode of his show “Washington Watch” earlier this week, Perkins explained that his daughter was now volunteering in an emergency room dealing with affected patients… and now he recognizes how serious the problem is:

… Perkins revealed to listeners that his daughter had volunteered to serve in the respiratory unit of an emergency room treating coronavirus patients and that the coronavirus was straining the country’s healthcare system. “It’s real, it’s serious, and so we’ve got to do our part,” Perkins said.

“Look​, folks, no reason to be fearful, but follow the guidelines,” Perkins said. “Follow the guidelines, do the social distancing if you have a stay-at-home order in place in your state and you’re not a part of an essential frontline, workers, you know, try to stay home, work from home, try to be productive — please be productive. Our economy needs it.”

This is all very important for him to say… two weeks ago. But much like a conservative who supports same-sex marriage only after realizing a family member is gay, it shouldn’t have taken his daughter working with patients to recognize he was spreading misinformation. The information was out there for anyone willing to look. The experts were sounding the alarms for months while Perkins and his ilk were in denial.

Maybe if he relied on those experts instead of trashing them as he usually does, he could’ve reached some of those conservative Christians who, for some reason, take him seriously.

Instead, his warning comes too late to be useful. Conservative officials who treat the pandemic as a liberal hoax are already putting their communities in danger by not requiring a strict lockdown.

Much like Donald Trump, who downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, continues to spread misinformation about it, and insists on ignoring experts in terms of future guidance, Perkins is part of the problem. He deserves to be known as someone who hastened the spread of a deadly disease when he could have been a voice of reason.

Where’s the apology? Where’s the promise to adhere to science instead of right-wing conspiracy theories in the future? Where’s any indication that he won’t do this again?

Don’t bother looking for it. It’s not there.

(via Right Wing Watch)