(CNN) — US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Sunday said he has “no reason to doubt” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 death toll, contradicting President Donald Trump’s claim that the agency has “exaggerated” its numbers.
“From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” Adams told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked about Trump’s claim.
“And I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths, as we talked about earlier,” he added. “It’s about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways and people need to understand there’s a finish line in sight, but we’ve got to keep running toward it.”
Earlier Sunday, Trump claimed on Twitter that the number of cases and deaths of the “China Virus is far exaggerated” because of the CDC’s “ridiculous method of determination” compared to other countries, which “report, purposely, very inaccurately and low.”
“‘When in doubt, call it Covid,’ ” Trump wrote in a tweet.
The President has before retweeted social media conspiracy theories, saying that only a small percentage of the people reported to have died from coronavirus really did die from the virus.
CNN reported In September that the CDC had to double down against rumors suggesting that coronavirus deaths have been greatly exaggerated, with the agency’s top expert on mortality saying people are misinterpreting standard death certificate language.
“In 94% of deaths with COVID-19, other conditions are listed in addition to COVID-19. These causes may include chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension,” Bob Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the CDC, said in a statement at the time.
“In 6% of the death certificates that list Covid-19, only one cause or condition is listed,” the statement added. “The underlying cause of death is the condition that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death. In 92% of all deaths that mention Covid-19, Covid-19 is listed as the underlying cause of death.”