At a campaign event, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) this week pushed a COVID-19 death toll QAnon conspiracy theory retweeted over the weekend by Donald Trump.
The Courier reports: “One attendee told Ernst during the question-and-answer period he believed COVID-19 cases and deaths are being overcounted, a theory discounted by medical professionals who say the actual numbers are probably much higher than official tallies. Ernst said she was ‘so skeptical’ of those numbers as well.”
Ernst later clarified, doubling down: “They do get reimbursed higher amounts if it’s a COVID-related illness or death. I heard the same thing on the news. … They’re thinking there may be 10,000 or less deaths that were actually singularly COVID-19. … I’m just really curious. It would be interesting to know that.”
Trump had retweeted the theory on Sunday, The Hill reports: “President Trump over the weekend retweeted a conspiracy theory falsely claiming that only about 9,000 people had ‘actually’ died from coronavirus, instead of about 150,000. Twitter later removed the tweet, written by a user named ‘Mel Q,’ who is also a believer of the QAnon conspiracy theory, saying it violated its rules.The now-deleted tweet pointed to a post on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website saying that ‘for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.'”
Dr. Anthony Fauci explained why it’s bogus on an interview with GMA: “That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of COVID-19, they did. So the numbers that you’ve been hearing — 180,000-plus deaths — are real deaths from COVID-19. Let there be no confusion about that, it’s not 9,000 deaths from COVID-19, it’s 180-plus-thousand deaths.”