Buried in the 17th paragraph of a newsletter titled "A Positive COVID Milestone" by David Leonhardt, a former Washington bureau chief for the outlet wrote: “The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had [the] virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other CDC data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.”
Leonhardt added, "Almost a year ago, President Biden angered some public health experts when he declared, ‘The pandemic is over.’ He may have been premature to make that declaration. But the excess-deaths milestone suggests that it’s true now: The pandemic is finally over."
When then-President Donald Trump suggested that the COVID death toll was over-counted, The Times wrote, “Mr. Trump told reporters that he accepted the current death toll, but that the figures could be ‘lower than’ the official count, which now totals nearly 95,000. Most statisticians and public health experts say he is wrong; the death toll is probably far higher than what is publicly known. … Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told lawmakers this month that the overall toll was likely an undercount. “I don’t know exactly what percent higher but almost certainly it is higher[.]”
CNN said at the time, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doubled down against rumors — spread mostly on social media — suggesting that coronavirus deaths have been greatly exaggerated.”
The Guardian cited Fauci as claiming that “…baseless ‘conspiracy theories’ are swirling around the coronavirus crisis following claims that America’s official death toll from Covid-19 has been overstated.”
Fauci also said at the time regarding the claim the COVID numbers were inflated that there "…is absolutely no evidence that that's the case at all" even though traffic deaths, gunshot fatalities, and other unrelated deaths were revealed to have been added to the total number.
PolitiFact even rated the claim “false.”
In January, Washington Post columnist Leana Wen said the "medical community" was "overcounting Covid deaths and hospitalizations," citing two infectious disease experts who said the numbers for hospitalized COVID patients were overcounted by as much as 90 percent.
In 2021, Italy, with one of the highest pandemic death counts in the world, recalculated its numbers and concluded that only 2.9 percent of COVID deaths could be exclusively blamed on the virus.
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