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‘Twisted & disgraceful’: Senior official says Trump will publicly question if the death toll numbers are real

'Twisted & disgraceful': Senior official says Trump will publicly question if the death toll numbers are real

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As the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. surge past 74,000 people, President Trump is complaining — not about the number of lives lost, but because he doesn’t think those deaths are being counted correctly.

According to Axios, Trump reportedly believes the real numbers are much lower—despite the fact most experts believe the real numbers are much higher.

But a senior official from his administration has even said that the president could start challenging these statistics publicly to save his political face.

Trump’s COVID-19 death toll predictions

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In February, Trump first called the coronavirus the Democrats’ “new hoax.”

Later that month, he declared that the number of people in the U.S. that have COVID-19 (then a total of 15) will be “close to 0.” He added that the reduced number — from 15 to 0 — would show that his team was doing a great job in curtailing the virus.

In March, he claimed that he was trying to be a “cheerleader” to Americans and had downplayed the virus to “give people hope.”

Since then, his projections of people in the U.S. dying from the virus have ranged from 50,000 to 75,000.

His latest projection on May 1? 100,000 people Americans could die.

Are the numbers accurate?

Experts believe the official U.S. death toll tally is painting an incomplete picture. According to an NBC report, it may be missing several thousand.

Why are the numbers varying?

The short answer is a shortage of tests to detect the virus and varying practices of how every state reports a COVID-19 death.

Until April, if a person got a positive COVID-19 test and then died, they were included in the coronavirus death tally. But what of the people that couldn’t get their hands on a test, but died? They were simply not counted.

Later that month, the Centers for Disease Control said it will include “probable” coronavirus deaths in the official numbers.

For instance, the “probable” cases added nearly 3,700 to New York’s COVID-19 death toll.

What’s the White House saying?

The White House

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According to the Axios report, a senior White House aide said,

“Skepticism isn’t the right way to frame it. The numbers have been revised up to include presumptive cases — meaning deaths that are believed to be related to COVID but not known for sure. So he’s expressed the need to properly convey that to American people so they’re not startled by why numbers ticked up.”

Another official said,

“With something like this virus, where you’ve got this weird coagulation in the lungs … we need more autopsies. America’s out of practice of how to deal with something like this and to report it accurately. … We don’t have uniform reporting standards in the United States or internationally. And we’re not getting good data.”

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