Fauci: Coronavirus death toll is likely higher than reported

A month ago, the government’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, appeared on the “Today” show to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Asked whether experts were overstating the number of deaths from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, Fauci said that was unlikely. “The official statistic, Dr. Fauci, is that 80,000 Americans have died from the pandemic,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said, referring to the current death toll. “I don’t know exactly what percent higher, but almost certainly it’s higher.” That statement undercuts a broad range of theories which have asserted that the number of deaths from the virus is being overstated. The purported reasons for the overstating vary, from claims that deaths from other causes are being misattributed, to insistences where the number is being intentionally inflated. But the evidence has consistently suggested that the number istoo low, not too high, as Fauci stated. As Fauci said, it may be the case that people who were suffering from the virus died before being able to get to the hospital or before being tested. It may also be that the number of deaths increased as a function of other causes, as well, such as people deciding against seeking medical attention for urgent conditions, perhaps out of concern about contracting the virus. Each year, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks the number of people who are confirmed to have died from the seasonal flu. That those who die of covid-19 are disproportionately elderly is seen as evidence to that point, as is the extent to which covid-19 deaths occur in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. A relatively densely populated community of higher-risk individuals is a key part of the problem. Gallery: From Times Square to the Taj Mahal, see iconic landmarks deserted (USA TODAY) It’s worth considering something else as well. People who live at home and die alone are harder to track than patients in care facilities which are under scrutiny.