Story at a glance
- The tweet, which has since been deleted by Twitter, cited a post on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website saying that “for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.”
- Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that does not mean the other 94 percent did not die from the coronavirus.
- More than 183,000 coronavirus deaths have been confirmed in the U.S.
The nation’s leading infectious diseases expert and White House coronavirus task force adviser Anthony Fauci pushed back against claims in a post retweeted by President Trump that minimized the coronavirus death toll in the U.S.
Trump on Sunday retweeted a post from a user named “Mel Q,” who is also a believer of the QAnon conspiracy theory, falsely claiming only about 9,000 people had “actually” died from the coronavirus.
The tweet, which has since been deleted by Twitter, cited a post on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website saying that “for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.” The post said the remaining 94 percent had other serious illnesses.
That does not mean, however, that the other 94 percent did not die from the coronavirus, Fauci said Tuesday.
Many of the remaining deaths included those with underlying conditions or who were listed as having conditions directly caused by the coronavirus, such as respiratory failure, pneumonia, cardiac arrest or other complications.
“That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of COVID-19, they did,” Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Tuesday.
“So the numbers that you’ve been hearing — 180,000-plus deaths — are real deaths from COVID-19. Let there be no confusion about that, it’s not 9,000 deaths from COVID-19, it’s 180-plus-thousand deaths,” Fauci emphasized.
The CDC has maintained that those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of severe illness from the coronavirus and possibly death.
During a press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked if the president was attempting to downplay the death toll with the retweets.
“No, he was highlighting new CDC information that came out that was worth noting,” she said.
The U.S. has tallied more than 184,000 coronavirus deaths and more than 6 million infections as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW