Fact Check: Over 220 Million Americans Have NOT Died From COVID-19 In The Last Several Months

Fact Check

  • by: Hallie Golden
Fact Check: Over 220 Million Americans Have NOT Died From COVID-19 In The Last Several Months Way Too High

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.

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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.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  Hallie Golden

Hallie Golden is a fact checker at Lead Stories and a freelance journalist based in Seattle. Her articles have been published in such places as The Guardian, The New York Times and Bloomberg CityLab.  She previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Associated Press in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Philadelphia, Pa

Read more about or contact Hallie Golden

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