Fact Check: Did CNN Remove COVID-19 Tracker After Joe Biden Took Office?

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people across the country, with about 25 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths as of January 25, according to the CDC.

The pandemic has been politicized since it hit the U.S. last year, as pundits and politicians debate over state lockdown policies, wearing masks and even media coverage.

The Claim

Fox News host Tucker Carlson predicted last Thursday that CNN would remove its COVID-19 tracker after President Joe Biden took office.

Carlson said, "It is Joe Biden's first day in office, and you know what that means? CNN can finally take that COVID death ticker off the screen. There's no reason for it now. It's not like you can blame Joe Biden for some Chinese virus that escaped from a lab in Wuhan. It wouldn't be fair. Come on now. CNN dutifully removed it this morning. COVID deaths, settle down, America. It's just a bad flu season."

His claim sparked outrage on Twitter, as many users called out CNN, claiming its COVID-19 tracker was not displayed for every segment.

Writer Amelia Hamilton tweeted that CNN's COVID tracker disappeared. She followed up with a tweet saying that she sees it's up when discussing COVID.

Hey, @CNN, I think you forgot your COVID tracker the last couple of days. It just sort of disappeared a couple of days ago. I'm sure this was just an oversight and you're dedicated to keeping us informed, so I look forward to seeing that on screen again any minute.

— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) January 22, 2021

The Facts

CNN's Public Relations Twitter account responded to Carlson's claim the following morning with time-stamped screenshots of segments that had aired the previous day. According to the images, the tracker ran when discussing the pandemic and the Biden administration. They called the claim from Carlson a lie and asked him to issue a correction.

Last night on his program @TuckerCarlson again lied to his audience about CNN, stating we’d “dutifully removed” the COVID-19 tracking graphic from our coverage now that President Biden has taken office. That is false. We look forward to his correction tonight. #factsfirst pic.twitter.com/MRotv8Quzb

— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) January 22, 2021

The tracker is prominently displayed during segments directly related to COVID-19. On the day in question, the tracker was on screen at different points from 6:14 a.m. to 4:59 p.m.

As of this morning, the COVID tracker still was in use during segments related to COVID-19 and Trump's impeachment.

The case to impeach former President Trump “gets stronger and stronger every day,” House impeachment manager Rep. Diana DeGette says. “There is evidence that remains clear that Donald Trump incited the insurrection.”https://t.co/YIWfMb9B1W pic.twitter.com/7G3Y5qI8QM

— New Day (@NewDay) January 25, 2021

There also is a live interactive COVID-19 tracker on the CNN.com that monitors cases and deaths across the country and links to up-to-date coverage of the pandemic.

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale also shared a tweet that shows screenshots of the tracker on screen after Biden took office.

Carlson's claim that CNN got rid of the Covid tracker because Biden is now in charge is -- like previous versions of the claim -- entirely false.

CNN is still running the tracker, especially during Covid segments. It ran the tracker alongside Biden's own speech yesterday. pic.twitter.com/3YqEmZNBg2

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 22, 2021

After the election, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted that CNN removed the tracker, joking that COVID was cured after the race was called for Biden.

Miraculous. COVID cured, the very instant the networks called the race for Biden. https://t.co/YcYeIolilZ

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 10, 2020

CNN reporter Oliver Darcy responded by tweeting saying that CNN uses the tracker when discussing the coronavirus.

What you’re tweeting is false. CNN has, for a while now, used the COVID tracker when discussing ... wait for it... COVID. It used the COVID tracker yesterday when discussing the coronavirus too. Would recommend not taking GOP’s word without checking first. They mislead a lot! https://t.co/UVBLOLwFBc

— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 10, 2020

Following the election, CNN continued to cover the pandemic with the on-screen tracker.

We continue to cover this horrible crisis that our public officials are not doing enough to stop.

Yesterday: https://t.co/C44pa5pwDF https://t.co/dzlzjLETxW

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 10, 2020

Even GOP pollster Frank Luntz chimed in to disagree with Cruz.

CNN displays the COVID tracker when covering COVID-related stories.

Here’s a screenshot from seconds ago during @PoppyHarlowCNN and @JimSciutto’s segment about the COVID vaccine: https://t.co/Ug37Sl6mPG pic.twitter.com/ccx8jzv5CR

— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) November 10, 2020

The Ruling

False.

The claims, sparked by Tucker Carlson, that CNN removed its COVID-19 tracker the morning after Biden took office are false.

The COVID-19 tracker has been displayed on screen after the election and after the inauguration during segments related to the pandemic.

COVID spread across U.S.
STATISTA

Graphic courtesy of Statista: https://www.statista.com/chartoftheday/