Did over 220 million Americans die in the last several months from COVID-19? No, that's not true: That number is way too high. According to data provided by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, there have been less than 230,000 deaths associated with the virus.
The statement was made by Sen. Kamala Harris, featured in a video (archived here) posted on YouTube on October 22, 2020, under the title "Kamala Harris Says 220 Million Americans Have Died From Coronavirus." The video's description stated:
Kamala Harris: 'We're looking at over 220 MILLION Americans who just in the last several months died. That 2/3 of the U.S. population. Is Dementia contagious?!
Click below to watch the video on YouTube:
Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, made an identical order-of-magnitude misstatement of the death toll during a campaign stop on October 24, 2020, in Cleveland, Ohio. She said:
We are in the midst of a public health epidemic that has taken the lives of over 220 million Americans in just the last several months, many of whom in their last days on this earth because of the nature of this virus could not be with their family, could not be with their friends, who could not touch the hand or look in the gaze of someone they love.
Link to the full video of the speech, with those comments at the 2:57 point, can be found here.
According to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, there have been 226,211 deaths in the U.S. associated with COVID-19,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented a similar number of deaths, stating that as of October 21, 2020, there have been 207,882 deaths in the U.S. involving COVID-19.
The U.S. population is just over 330 million. In other words, the death count presented by Harris would mean two-thirds of the country's population had died.
During both speeches, after Harris misstated the number of COVID-19 deaths by an order of magnitude, she followed up by saying over 8 million people in the U.S. have contracted the virus, which is correct, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In other campaign speeches and during the vice-presidential debate on October 7, 2020, Harris has highlighted the country's COVID-19 death count accurately. Examples of this can be found here and here.
Lead Stories reached out to the Biden-Harris campaign for comment and will update this report, if appropriate, when they reply.