The coronavirus death toll is being questioned by some who are suggesting that the number of deaths caused by the virus is being inflated.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson suggested during his show on Tuesday that officials are inflating the number of deaths of the virus. He argued that officials are counting individuals who died, who had the virus and an underlying condition, as a coronavirus death when their death could actually have been caused by a different health issue.
He cited a report that said the number of pneumonia deaths was “far lower” and suggested doctors were “classifying conventional pneumonia deaths as COVID-19 deaths.”
Dr. Deborah Birx said during a White House press briefing on Tuesday that officials are counting people if they tested positive with the coronavirus when they died, even if there was another cause of the death.
However, in an interview on NBC’s “Today Show” on Thursday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci called the suggestion that the death toll is inflated a “conspiracy theory.”
“There is absolutely no evidence that that’s the case, at all,” Fauci said. “I think it falls under the category of something that’s very unfortunate, these conspiracy theories that we hear about.”
He added, “Every time we have a crisis of any sort, there’s always this popping up of conspiracy theories. I think the deaths that we’re seeing are coronavirus deaths, and the other deaths are not being counted as coronavirus deaths.”
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Fauci continued to say that there’s “more of a chance” that officials have missed some coronavirus deaths and that the death toll could be higher than what is being reported.
But, he added, “I don’t think that number is significant enough to really substantially modify the trends that we’re seeing, at all.”
While Fauci said that there could be more coronavirus deaths than are being reported, he did indicate that the mitigation efforts implemented by states around the country are working.
He noted that with the latest data from the U.S., he predicts the number of coronavirus deaths will be around 60,000 people, down from earlier projections of 100,000 to 240,000 coronavirus deaths.