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article imageSkepticism over actual COVID-19 death count becomes political

By Karen Graham     Sep 2, 2020 in Politics
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Donald Trump has made a series of unfortunate projections about the U.S. coronavirus death toll. In fact, the president went about making predictions in ways that were nothing short of bizarre.
In April this year, Trump said the death toll from the virus might reach 50,000, and when it surpassed that number, he said the toll could be as low as 60,000. And on and on he went, revising his numbers as the death toll rose to over 90,000.
Now that the death toll from the coronavirus is nearing 185,000 people, Trump is making a complete about-face - something he is getting very good at doing. Now, he is trying to throw out the latest conspiracy theory that only about 9,000 people have actually died from the coronavirus.
According to The Hill, the QAnon conspiracy theory that cases are being overcounted distorts a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found coronavirus was the only contributing factor in 6 percent of deaths.
However, the CDC, in the report explained that the other 94 percent of fatalities had at least one other contributing factor, but those deaths still count toward the COVID-19 death toll because the coronavirus contributed to them.
Many people will remember when over this past weekend, Trump promoted a tweet from a right-wing blogger. The tweet suggested that as few as "9,000 American deaths" can be attributed to COVID-19. Twitter later took the tweet down, saying it was misleading.
On Tuesday, the administration's latest mouthpiece, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, fueled the new conspiracy theory. "The President was referring to a CDC -- new information that came out from the CDC that showed that 96 -- 94 percent, rather, of cases -- of fatalities were not just COVID alone; there was another comorbidity or extenuating matter. So he was just pointing to those numbers," she told reporters.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci did his part to set the record straight -- and in the process, he publicly contradicted the White House. "Fauci told the ABC program “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that the CDC guidance, last updated on Aug. 26, indicates that of the people who have died from the virus, “a certain percentage of them had nothing else but just Covid.” However, people with underlying illnesses also die from Covid-19," he said.
"That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of COVID-19. They did,” Fauci explained. “So the numbers you’ve been hearing -- there are 180,000-plus deaths -- are real deaths from COVID-19. Let (there) not be any confusion about that.”
More about coronavirus deaths, Conspiracy theories, actual case count, CDC, Dr Anthony Fauci
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