As Fauci Debunks Trump's Death Toll Retweet, Here Are 4 More Times He's Contradicted President on Coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House coronavirus task force member and top infectious disease expert, has said there should be no confusion that over 180,000 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19, in his latest contradiction of President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Amy Robach of Good Morning America asked the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to respond to a tweet shared by the president containing a false claim, which was later removed by Twitter.

The tweet claimed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had "quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6%" of reported deaths "actually died from Covid." It suggested about 9,000 people had died of the disease.

In actuality, the CDC's 94 percent figure related to those who had another underlying condition alongside the condition, such as COVID-19 and obesity or COVID-19 and diabetes.

Citing Johns Hopkin University data that 6 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in the U.S. and over 183,000 people have died (a number which has since risen to over 184,000), Robach asked Fauci: "can you explain why the president would retweet a theory that suggests only 9,000 people have died of COVID-19?"

Without naming the president, Fauci said: "The point that the CDC was trying to make was that a certain percentage of them [COVID-19 patients] had nothing else but just COVID. That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn't die of COVID-19. They did."

He went on: "let [there] not be any confusion about that, it's not 9,000 deaths from COVID-19."

Earlier in the interview, Fauci said it was a distraction to pit him against the president, and said they were "on the same team." Throughout the pandemic, Fauci has been careful not to openly criticize Trump while attempting to correct false claims, as shown in the examples below.

Hydroxychloqoruine

The president has repeatedly touted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential COVID-19 treatment, claiming in May that he took it to prevent catching the virus despite there being no evidence to support the approach.

Fauci has meanwhile repeatedly stated that the scientific evidence does not support claims that hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19. In a BBC News interview in July, Fauci was asked to respond to claims by the president that hydroxychloroquine works against COVID-19.

He said "[it is] not productive or helpful for me to be making judgments on right or wrong but what I can say is what I've said all along, that the overwhelming body of data from trials that were well run, randomized placebo controlled trials, indicate that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in treating coronavirus disease."

Coronavirus is 'receding'

In early August, Trump claimed the coronavirus was "receding" in the U.S. at a time when deaths average around 1,000 per day, over double the average of early July. That day, Fauci told the JAMA the U.S. was "right in the middle of the first wave" and that cases were surging.

Similarly, a week later Fauci said the coronavirus will not "spontaneously" disappear after being asked on ABC's World News Tonight to respond to a claim by Trump that the virus is "disappearing."

COVID-19 "totally harmless"

After Trump claimed that "99 percent" of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless," the Financial Times newspaper asked Fauci in July: "Is Trump wrong?"

Attempting to deflect the question according to the report, Fauci said: "I'm trying to figure out where the president got that number. What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 per cent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 per cent is not a problem, when that's obviously not the case."

U.S. outbreak is "under control"

In an interview with Axios last month, Trump said he thought the pandemic was "under control [in the U.S.] as much as you can control it."

Pressed by Reuters on whether he believed the country's outbreak was indeed under control, Fauci said: "you can pick out some parts of the country that are looking good and you could say is under control, you could pick some parts of the country that are on fire. You don't get 70,000 cases a day when nothing's going on."

In a separate interview with PBS that week, saw Fauci said he thought Trump claimed the country was doing well on testing and the disease compared with others because "as the president he's trying to keep the spirits up of people."

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

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Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, flanked by US President Donald Trump, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 22, 2020, in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
As Fauci Debunks Trump's Death Toll Retweet, Here Are 4 More Times He's Contradicted President on Coronavirus | Health