Fauci: Real coronavirus death toll 'almost certainly' higher than official 80,000 count

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump hits Biden and Obama in defense of his golfing Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' Top New Mexico tourism official says mass gatherings may not be possible for 18 months MORE said Tuesday that the real number of deaths from coronavirus is "almost certainly" even higher than the official death toll of 80,000 because of the likelihood that some deaths went unrecorded.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate Health Committee during a virtual hearing that with health care systems overwhelmed, it's very likely a number of deaths were not recorded, meaning total deaths from the coronavirus across the country are likely higher than the already staggering toll of more than 80,000 now counted by Johns Hopkins University. 

"Most of us feel that the number of deaths are likely higher than that number because given the situation particularly in New York City, when they were really strapped with a very serious challenge to their health care system, that there may have been people who died at home who were not counted as COVID because they never really got to the hospital," Fauci said during the hearing.

Asked by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel Biden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden MORE (I-Vt.) if the real number of deaths could be even 50 percent higher than the official number of 80,000, Fauci said: "I think you are correct that the number is likely higher, I don't know exactly what percent higher, but almost certainly it's higher."

The comments drive home how devastating the death toll from the virus has been in the United States.

Even going by the recorded number of 80,000, the U.S. by far leads the world in total deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data, though numbers from China have been cast in doubt.

Following the U.S., the United Kingdom has about 32,000 deaths, and Italy has about 30,000 deaths.