The United States, which has reported the highest number of Covid-19 deaths globally, may still be undercounting its overall death toll. At least that is what top pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci believes. Fauci said on Sunday that there has been "no doubt" that the United States is undercounting it Covid-19 fatal cases.
The United States now stands at over 581,000 coronavirus deaths, according to official figures, but the numbers could be a lot more than that, which the Biden administration and earlier Donald Trump failed to assess. Fauci, who was speaking at NBC's Meet the Press, said that a according to a University of Washington analysis published on May 6, the true toll is probably over 900,000 and is "a bit more than I would have thought."
Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the United States may have failed to report the actual number of Covid-19 death, which are more than 900,000. "That's a bit more than I would have thought the undercounting was. Sometimes the models are right on line, sometimes they're a bit off," he said.
Fauci said that there could be, and he is almost certain that there have been several cases where someone had not been tested and his or her death has been attributed more to the direct condition, while Covid-19 as a cause was entirely left out. A report in January found that coroners in Trump-supporting areas were more likely to downplay COVID as a factor in death.
"But I think there's no doubt... that we are and have been undercounting," he said. The United States has reported over 32.6 million cases since the virus was first identified at the end of 2019 in China. The United States witnessed a spike both in new cases and deaths after the end-of-year holidays. However, since January new infections have come down as vaccination rates have jumped.
Vaccination Rate Slowing
Fauci said that vaccination rate has been slowing lately and the nation cannot get complacent over the recent decline in new cases. He said using "trusted messengers" will be an important way to overcome hesitancy in some communities and get the nation closer to an 80% vaccination rate.
"It could be sports figures, it could be entertainment figures, it could be clergy or it could be your family doctor," he said.
Fauci's comments came just hours after top celebrities like Prince Harry and Jennifer Lopez along spoke about the importance of vaccines on a special television show President Joe Biden and first lady along with Pope Francis also recorded remarks for the event.
President Joe Biden wants 70 percent of adults in the U.S. to have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine by the July 4 Independence Day holiday. Fauci said that at least 80 percent need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
The vaccination rate peaked around April 10 and has been declining since then, with vaccine hold-outs slowing the race to population immunity. In order to attain Biden's goal of 70 percent people getting vaccinated by July 4, Fauci believes the a few strategies need to be applied. The wider use of walk-in clinics or pharmacies is a major strategy to "get that last group of people who seem to be recalcitrant," Fauci said, by making the process easier.