US Surgeon General says he has 'no reason to doubt' the 350,000 COVID-19 death toll in the US after Trump baselessly questioned its accuracy
- US Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday expressed confidence in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's handing of COVID-19 data after it was baselessly criticized by President Donald Trump.
- "From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers," Adams said during an appearance Sunday on CNN.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, similarly disputed Trump's characterization of the CDC data on Sunday.
- As of Sunday, more than 350,000 people in the US have died as a result of COVID-19, according to a Johns Hopkins University analysis. The CDC total is slightly below, at just over 346,000.
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US Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday said he believed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were accurately counting and representing COVID-19 infections and deaths after President Donald Trump baselessly questioned their accuracy.
The president on Twitter criticized his own government Sunday, claiming the "number of cases and deaths of the China Virus is far exaggerated in the United States because of @CDCgov's ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low."
Trump has long referred to COVID-19 as the "China Virus" despite racist connotations associated with the moniker. As Business Insider's Yelena Dzhanova reported Sunday, the CDC is run by people that president Trump appointed and for months has regularly updated its COVID-19 statistics.
"From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers," Adams told CNN's Jake Tapper during an appearance on "State of the Union."
He added: "And I think people need to be very aware that it's not just about the deaths, as we talked about earlier. 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."
For a month, US daily COVID-19 hospitalizations have hovered above 100,000, and experts anticipate that hospitalizations in the country will only rise as post-holiday cases of the disease are diagnosed, as Insider's Aria Bendix reported.
According to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University, more than 350,000 people in the US have died after contracting COVID-19 as of Sunday, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. More people have died in the US than in any other country globally, according to the analysis. As of Saturday, the CDC tracker puts the US death toll just above 346,000.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also Sunday said the CDC numbers were accurate.
"That's not fake," Fauci said during an ABC News appearance. "That's real."
While there is no evidence that the number of COVID-19 cases or deaths is erroneously or intentionally exaggerated, despite debunked conspiracy theories that have persisted since the early days of the pandemic, scientists and experts for months have said the opposite may be true: the US may be undercounting the number of people who have been infected with COVID-19 and died as a result.
While two vaccines were given an emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration late last year, the rollout of the vaccine will be slow, and it will be months before every American who wishes to be vaccinated will be able to receive the shot.
Current distribution plans are left up to state health departments and typically prioritize healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
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