Surgeon general defends official Covid-19 numbers

Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams also expressed optimism about the nation’s vaccine program. | Jessica Hill/AP Photo

Surgeon General Jerome Adams declined to condemn President Donald Trump on Sunday for calling Covid-19 death figures “far exaggerated,” but he did defend the numbers Trump attacked.

“From a health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” Adams said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” responding to a question from host Jake Tapper pressing him on a tweet Sunday where the president stated without evidence that Covid-19 numbers have been inflated.

Adams said: “I don’t speak for the president. I speak for the office of the Surgeon General and the Public Health Service, and I’m focused on making sure people get the information they need and wash your hands and stay your distance and get the vaccine when it’s available.” He also said that the death toll is not the only indicator of how damaging the pandemic has been to the country.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Dr. Anthony Fauci also said there was nothing fake about the death toll: “The deaths are real deaths. All you need to do is go out into the trenches. Go to the hospitals and see what the health care workers are dealing with.They are under very stressful situations in many areas of the country. The hospital beds are stretched, people are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted.”

Trump tweeted Sunday: “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. ‘When in doubt, call it Covid.’ Fake News!”

America’s death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 350,000, with more than 20 million cases diagnosed. Both are by far the highest in the world.

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