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Fauci: 'No doubt' US has undercounted COVID-19 deaths

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: FDA says millions of J&J doses from troubled plant must be thrown out | WHO warns Africa falling far behind in vaccinations | Top CDC official says US not ready for next pandemic Top CDC official warns US not ready for next pandemic WHO official: Delta variant 'poised to take hold' in Europe MORE, a member of the White House COVID-19 response team and President BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE's chief medical adviser, said Sunday that he believes it is likely that the U.S. has undercounted the number of deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Fauci responded to host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddOvernight Health Care: US to donate 500 million Pfizer doses to other countries: reports | GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message | Federal appeals court blocks Missouri abortion ban Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' Fauci: Attacks on me are really also 'attacks on science' MORE, who questioned him about a study from the University of Washington indicating that COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. could be as high as 900,000.

"You know, the model says that it's a significant amount, as you mentioned correctly, 900,000. That's a bit more than I would have thought the undercounting was, but, you know, sometimes the models are right on line, sometimes they're a bit off," Fauci said in response to a question about whether he believed the true death toll was that high.

"But I think there's no doubt, Chuck, that we are and have been undercounting. What that tells us is something that we've known. You know, we're living through a historic pandemic, the likes of which we haven't seen in over a hundred years," he continued.

If true, the total would put the U.S. death toll at more than twice as high as that of Brazil, the country which has seen the second-most number of reported COVID-19 deaths, though health experts have speculated that Brazil and other countries such as India may be undercounting their death tolls as well.

The U.S. has just over 581,000 confirmed deaths from the virus, more than any other country globally, while the U.S. has also confirmed roughly 10 million more infections than India, the country with the second-highest number of confirmed cases.