COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more Americans than World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined.
VERDICT: FALSE IN MOST CASES. In such wars, the overall number of casualties, including non-combat deaths, is higher.
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President Joe Biden declared in his address to the nation from the White House on the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus shutdowns:
As I’ve previously said, I keep a card in my pocket that lists the number of Americans who have died as a result of COVID. It’s at the bottom of my to-do list. As of today, there have been 527,726 deaths in the United States. That’s more than the total number of people killed in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 put together.
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Although there is reason for concern about the number of coronavirus deaths, Biden’s estimates are clearly inaccurate.
Biden’s argument was dismissed by a number of major media outlets. According to Newsweek, for example:
According to the Congressional Research Service dataset, cumulative service deaths for the three wars combined total 580,135, including casualties not specifically related to combat. When you include the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, the number rises to 583,112, which is higher than the COVID death toll.
- World War I: 116,516
- World War II: 405,399
- Vietnam: 58,220
- 9/11: 2,977
A White House spokesperson told The Washington Post last month that Biden was referring to in-combat deaths after fact-checking the war-time figures. During his weekly address to the country, the president did not make that point directly.
It’s unclear why the 9/11 terrorist attack was included in the figures if fighting deaths remain the methodology.
During Friday’s press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Biden’s false assertion. “I’m glad you’re concentrating on the important business,” she grumbled to the reporter.