- Dr. Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on Sunday that America’s COVID-19 deaths are real, in response to a tweet from President Trump that questioned CDC reports.
- ”The deaths are real deaths,” Fauci said on ABC News. “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.”
- “I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths,” Adams told CNN. “It’s about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways, and people need to understand there’s a finish line in sight, but we’ve got to keep running toward it.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on Sunday that the number of coronavirus deaths registered in the US to date is real. The death toll just surpassed 350,000, the highest for any nation battling the pandemic. That’s out of more than 20.63 million COVID-19 cases diagnosed with a test so far.
It’s not unusual to see health officials defend COVID-19 data, whether it’s the number of cases, deaths, health measures, or vaccination information, in a year when viral social media campaigns pushing conspiracy theories and misinformation have hindered the response to the pandemic, sowing distrust in the population. In this case, the two health experts were asked to respond to President Trump’s tweet on early Sunday that said the 350,000 figure isn’t accurate.
“The deaths are real deaths,” Fauci told ABC News when questioned about those tweets. “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. 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 said.
Trump said in a tweet that the number of coronavirus cases and deaths is “far exaggerated in the United States,” compared to other countries, calling the CDC’s reporting “ridiculous.”
The US reached nearly 300,000 cases on Saturday, a new world record for the pandemic that shows the third wave’s top isn’t even in. Fauci addressed the figure in a different remark during the same interview with ABC.
“To have 300,000 cases in a given day and between 2,000 and 3,000 deaths per day is just terrible,” he said. “I mean, it is. I mean, there is no running away from the numbers, Martha. It’s something that we absolutely got to grasp and get our arms around and turn that — turn that inflection down by very intensive adherence to the public health measures uniformly throughout the country with no exceptions.”
Fauci explained that factors including the winter months that are forcing more people indoors, the increased travel during the holiday season, and the inconsistent adhering to public health measures are “all of the ingredients that unfortunately make for a situation that is really terrible.”
Adams was asked about Trump’s tweet on CNN, with the Surgeon General saying that “from a health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers.”
“I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths,” Adams said. “It’s about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways, and people need to understand there’s a finish line in sight, but we’ve got to keep running toward it.”
Both Fauci and Adams addressed vaccination campaigns that have fallen short of estimates for 2020. They said vaccinations are ramping up this year, with 1.5 million doses already administered in the first three days of the year.