Two senior U.S. health officials on Sunday denied President Donald Trump’s claim that federal data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. were exaggerated, and both were optimistic that the pace of vaccinations is picking up.
“The deaths are real deaths,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News’ This week, adding that jam-packed hospitals and stressed healthcare workers “are not fakes. This is real.”
Fauci and US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, defended the accuracy of the coronavirus data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after Trump attacked the agency’s tabulation methods.
“The number of cases and deaths of the China virus is vastly exaggerated in the US due to @CDCgov’s ridiculous method of identification compared to other countries, many of which are deliberate, very imprecise and low-reporting,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump, a Republican who left office on January 20 after losing an offer for a second term to Democrat Joe Biden, has often downplayed the severity of the pandemic. It has also scorned and ignored federal recommendations to curb the spread.
More than 20 million people have been infected in the US and nearly 347,000 have died – or one in 950 US residents – since the virus first emerged in China in late 2019, according to the CDC.
“From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt these numbers, and I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths,” said Adams. “It’s about the hospital stays, the capacity.”
Fauci and Adams were optimistic that the pace of vaccinating Americans against the virus is accelerating after a slow start. As of December 14, more than 4.2 million people have been vaccinated with one of two vaccines, well below the Trump administration’s target of 20 million by the end of 2020.
“We wanted to hit 20 million, but one glimmer of hope is that in the last 72 hours they got 1.2 million doses into people’s arms, which is an average of about 500,000 a day,” Fauci said. “We’re not where we want to be. There’s no doubt about that. But I think we can get there.”
He believed that the number of daily vaccinations could be increased to 1 million and called for a “real partnership” between the federal and state governments.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)