Report: Trump Casts Doubt On COVID-19 Death Toll, Believes True Number Could Be Lower

President Donald Trump listens during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on March 22, 2020. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
May 6, 2020 4:48 p.m.
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As the U.S. grapples with a staggering death toll from the coronavirus, which has now surpassed 70,000, President Donald Trump reportedly has been privately questioning the number of fatalities from the virus and believes the deaths could have been over-counted.

Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump has been venting to his aides about the ever-growing calculated death toll, which is at over 72,000 according to John Hopkins University. The President reportedly believes the figures, which have consistently surpassed his predictions of what the final death count will be, seem to be higher than they actually are, and several of his aides believe the same.

An unnamed official told Axios that Trump is expected to start casting doubt on the death toll in public next week.

Time after time, the President has been forced to revise his optimistically low fatality predictions of the virus, which originally began at 50,000 until Trump had to begin steadily increasing the figure to keep up with the true death rate.

On Sunday, Trump said the final number could be as high as 100,000 but insisted that he had prevented “millions” of deaths early on in the pandemic.

The White House did not respond to request for comment.

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). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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