Fact Check: Joe Biden DID Say 200 Million People Would Die From COVID by End of His Speech, Then Corrected Himself

Fact Check

  • by: Arthur Brice
Fact Check: Joe Biden DID Say 200 Million People Would Die From COVID by End of His Speech, Then Corrected Himself Obvious gaffe

Did Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden say at a campaign event in Philadelphia on Sept. 20, 2020 that 200 million people would be dead from the Covid-19 virus by the end of his speech? Yes, that's true: Biden misspoke, and corrected himself a few minutes later.

Biden's gaffe was called out in a video clip posted to the Donald J. Trump YouTube channel on Sept. 20, 2020 titled "Joe Biden says 200 million people will die by end of his speech" (archived here) which captioned the video:

Joe Biden, struggling to make it through another speech: "It's estimated that 200 million people will die, probably by the time I finish this talk." (That's nearly 2/3 of the U.S. population.)

Click below to watch the clip on YouTube:

Speaking at a campaign event at the National Convention Center in Philadelphia, Biden misspoke. Saying the number of Covid-19 deaths in the United States was 1,000 times greater than the actual tally. At 9:20 into his speech, Biden said:

"If Donald Trump has his way, the complications from COVID-19, which are well beyond what they should be -- it's estimated that 200 million people have died -- probably by the time I finish this talk."

At the time of his speech, COVID-19 deaths in the United States were approaching 200,000, according to the tally kept by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biden corrected himself at 12:48 into the speech.

"Like I said, as I speak we're probably passing 200,000 deaths lost to this virus."

Here is the full-length video of Biden's speech, from CSPAN:

A death toll of 200 million would be nearly 61 percent of the U.S. population of more than 330 million, acording to the U.S. Census. The death toll as of Sept. 25, 2020 stood at more than 202,000.

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  Arthur Brice

Arthur Brice is a fact checker at Lead Stories. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years, nearly 30 of them in newspapers. Brice was a national desk editor and reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly 20 years. Previously, he was political editor at The Tampa Tribune and also worked for three other Florida newspapers. He spent 11 Years as an executive editor and executive producer at CNN. 

Read more about or contact Arthur Brice

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