Surgeon General says 'no reason to doubt' COVID-19 death toll number

The U.S. surgeon general pushed back against President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE's claims about the COVID-19 death toll being artificially inflated during an interview Sunday.

Speaking with CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperPolice investigating death of TV anchor who uncovered Clinton tarmac meeting as suicide Mississippi governor: Biden goal of 70 percent of US vaccinated by July 4 is 'arbitrary' Energy secretary: Adversaries have capability of shutting down US power grid MORE on "State of the Union," Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsIndiana county ends needle exchange program credited with containing an HIV outbreak Fauci: Americans 'misinterpreting' mask rules Former surgeon general: CDC 'fumbled the ball at the one-yard line' with new mask guidance messaging MORE was questioned about his ability to provide accurate health information to Americans under a president who regularly shares misinformation about the virus.

The question came in response to a tweet from Trump on Sunday morning blaming Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] methodology for the U.S. death toll from the virus, which he referred to as "fake news."


"I don't speak for the president. I speak for the Office of the Surgeon General and the public health service, and I'm focused on getting people the information they need. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance. Get your vaccine when it becomes available," Adams said.

"Is that real? Is the death toll real? 350,000 dead Americans ... or does the CDC have a bogus way of 'When in doubt, call it COVID' as the president falsely claims?" Tapper asked.

"From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers," Adams said in response before adding that Americans should be concerned about the rate of new hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19 as well.

His remarks came minutes after the nation's top infectious diseases expert, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciNevada man present at Capitol insurrection announces gubernatorial bid Overnight Health Care: US surpasses 600K COVID-19 deaths | Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern' MORE, publicly rejected the president's words while also stressing the high rate of hospitalizations as a warning sign.

“Well, the deaths are real deaths. I mean, all you need to do is to go out into the trenches, go to the hospitals, see what the health care workers are dealing with. They are under very stressed situations in many areas of the country. The hospital beds are stretched,” Fauci said on ABC’s "This Week."

"People are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted right now. That's real. That's not fake. That's real," he added.