President Trump on Sunday claimed the US COVID-19 death toll is “exaggerated” — and was immediately rebuked by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“The deaths are real deaths. All you need to do is go out into the trenches go to the hospitals, see what the healthcare workers are dealing with,” Fauci said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”
“They are under very stressful situations in many areas of the country. The hospital beds are stretched, people are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted,” Fauci said.
“Right now, that’s real. That’s not fake, that’s real,” he said.
Trump had made the claim about the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an hour earlier on Twitter.
“The number of cases and deaths of the China Virus is far exaggerated in the United States because of @CDCgov’s ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low. ‘When in doubt, call it Covid.’ Fake News!” the president posted on Twitter.
About an hour after Fauci’s appearance on ABC, Trump tweeted again, griping that Fauci is celebrated by the media even though “he works for me.”
“Something how Dr. Fauci is revered by the LameStream Media as such a great professional, having done, they say, such an incredible job, yet he works for me and the Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work. Gee, could this just be more Fake News?” Trump posted.
The death toll in the US surpassed 350,000 on Sunday and health experts predict the country will experience another surge of cases and deaths because of the millions who traveled over the holidays.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams also said he does not doubt the death toll during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“From a health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” Adams responded, “and I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths, as we talked about earlier, it’s about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact,” he said.
A number of states have reported a record number of coronavirus cases in the past few days — including North Carolina and Arizona.
And funeral homes in Southern California said they have been turning away grieving families because they can’t take care of the bodies quickly enough.
Two vaccines — one from Pfizer and one from Moderna — have received emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
But while millions of doses have been distributed, the nation is lagging on getting the shots into people’s arms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks the vaccines, said 13,071,925 doses have been distributed, but just 4,225,756 have been inoculated as of Saturday.