WH COVID Task Force Members Push Back At Trump’s Bogus Claim Of Inflated Death Rates

COVID-19 White House expert Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks before receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Semansky... COVID-19 White House expert Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks before receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 3, 2021 12:24 p.m.
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White House coronavirus task force members Dr. Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday refuted President Trump’s baseless assertion that COVID-19 infection rates and fatalities were “far exaggerated.”

In a tweet on Sunday morning, Trump repeated his xenophobic reference to COVID-19 — which has killed more than 350,000 Americans thus far — as he attacked the CDC over unsubstantiated claims of COVID-19 case and fatality inflation.

Fauci, whose dire warnings about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic have starkly contrasted Trump’s downplaying of it, disputed the President’s false claims during an interview on ABC News on Sunday.

“The deaths are real deaths,” Fauci said. “All you need to do is go out into the trenches, go to the hospitals, see what the health care workers are dealing with. They are under very stressed situations.”

Fauci pointed to many areas of the country experiencing an overwhelming amount of hospitalizations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” Fauci said. “That’s real. That’s not fake. That’s real.”

Minutes after Fauci issued his remarks refuting Trump’s misleading claim, the President swiftly bashed the nation’s top infectious disease expert by complaining that Fauci gets more credit than him. Last year, the White House launched efforts to discredit Fauci, which included a memo sent out to multiple media outlets claiming that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”

Adams offered a similar rebuke during an interview on CNN Sunday morning.

Although Adams did not condemn Trump for characterizing COVID-19 fatality rates as “far exaggerated,” the Surgeon General couldn’t get behind Trump’s bogus assertion on COVID-19 rates.

“From a health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” Adams said in response to Trump’s tweet.

Adams maintained that while he doesn’t speak for the President, he does speak on behalf of the office of the Surgeon General and the Public Health Service.

“And I’m focused on making sure people get the information they need and wash your hands and stay your distance and get the vaccine when it’s available,” Adams said, before adding that fatality rates aren’t the only indicator of the severity of the toll that COVID-19 has had on the country.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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