I grew up in a consevative family that operated a small business. When I was growing up, we frequently listened to right-wing talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. As an adult, I continued to listen to them for years before I changed my views.
I can speak on the issue of science denial.
They absolutely disbelieve science in their own minds. They believe that scientists and educators are part of a conspiracy to make people believe false things to further their own interests. It can be denial of global climate change, evolutionary biology, basic reproductive functionality, vaccine science, and now it has extended even to denial of a global pandemic that is happening right in front of us.
That is not to say that all "consevatives" monolithically deny science. I have a conservative friend who has to be familiar with some politically inconvenient science for her job and she forthrightly proclaims that those who deny science are misinformed.
I have come to see politics as being like religion for many people. As conservatives, there are beliefs that are nearly doctrinal to their worldview, and questioning them is heresy. They see other conservatives as fellow members of something not unlike a religious movement. (My friend I mentioned above would probably heavily censor herself around such people to protect her social standing.) I don't let progressives off the hook; I find them likewise defending ideas and policies that they, too, clearly do not understand and have no interest in learning to rationally defend.
I am honestly not surprised at coronavirus denial. Ever since several Democratic governors ordered "shelter in place" while President Trump dismissed coronavirus as something that would go away on its own, I've been watching something like a slow trainwreck. The coronavirus is not entirely predictable, but the politicization of it certainly is! Trump tweeting "Liberate Michigan" as tacticool conservatives wave rifles at the state capitol does not surprise me. I know at least one person who has never expressed the slightest anti-vaccine sentiment, who made sure that all children in their family were vaccinated, who now says that vaccines aren't healthy and that they will refuse a coronavirus vaccine if it ever becomes available. (In their defense, they live in a community with a very low coronavirus infection rate, at least for now.)
In short, their leader signaled to them, and conservatives fell in line, at least in great enough numbers to hamper any serious response to COVID-19. In my eyes, Donald Trump and his allies have blood on their hands for the epidemic and economic carnage we are witness to.
I hope you will be safe, dear reader.