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Fauci pushes back on Trump on COVID-19 'exaggerated' remarks: 'The deaths are real deaths'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCOVID-19 is a precursor for infectious disease outbreaks on a warming planet Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration Fauci: Approval of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines likely 'weeks away' MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, pushed back on claims by President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE on Sunday that the federal government has "exaggerated" the COVID-19 death toll.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci was asked by guest host Martha Raddatz about a tweet by the president calling the coronavirus case and death toll “fake news” and blaming it on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention methodology.

“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 responded.

“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.

There have been more than 350,000 deaths in the United States from COVID-19, according to statistics kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci also conceded that “there have been a couple of glitches” in mass vaccination for the virus, which he called “understandable.”

“I think the important thing ... is to see what's happening in the next week to week and a half,” he said. “But some little glimmer of hope is that in the last 72 hours they've gotten 1.5 million doses into people's arms, which is an average of about 500,000 a day, which is much better than the beginning, when it was much, much less than that.”

“So we are not where we want to be. There's no doubt about that. But I think we can get there if we really accelerate, get some momentum going and see what happens as we get into the first couple of weeks of January,” he added.