COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Fauci to Trump after he tweeted the CDC exaggerates the number of COVID-19 cases: 'The deaths are real'
  • President Donald Trump on Sunday said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — led by people he appointed himself — tracks coronavirus case and death rates inaccurately.
  • The number of US cases and deaths "is far exaggerated," he said in a tweet Sunday, a claim that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts have disputed.
  • It's far likelier that the CDC underexaggerates cases. Experts for months have said case and death toll rates are actually much higher than known.
  • Trump's remarks come just as the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States surpassed 350,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
"The number of cases and deaths of the China Virus is far exaggerated in the United States because of @CDCgov's ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low," Trump tweeted. "'When in doubt, call it Covid.' Fake News!"

Importantly, the CDC and other COVID-19 trackers are only able to identify the number of known coronavirus cases and deaths. Experts for months have suggested that the case and death toll rates are actually much higher than known, since some cases might not be reported.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases specialist and a core member of the White House coronavirus task force, disputed Trump's remarks on Sunday.

Speaking on ABC News' "This Week," Fauci said the deaths "are real" and objected to Trump's tweet.

"All you need to do is go out into the trenches," he said. "Go to the hospitals and see what the healthcare workers are dealing with. They are under very stressful situations in many areas of the country. The hospital beds are stretched, people are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted."

"That's real," Fauci continued. "That's not fake. That's real."

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams also disputed Trump's tweet. "From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,"
he said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

Vanilla Ice performed for a mask-free crowd at the Mar-a-Lago New Year's party that Trump and Melania skipped
  • Rapper Vanilla Ice, who is best known for his 1989 single "Ice Ice Baby," performed at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago New Year's Eve party, according to video footage from the event.
  • The president and first lady changed their plans on short notice to abandon the Mar-a-Lago New Year's Eve event.
  • The event appeared to go on with scores of attendees, including Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., who shared a public Facebook post calling Vanilla Ice's performance "amazing."
  • Trump Jr.'s video praising the rapper prompted a wave of responses mocking and criticizing the seemingly mask-free event, which also appeared to have a performance from The Beach Boys co-founder Mike Lowe.
Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist, tweeted: "And 2020 ends not with a bang, but with a superspreading Vanilla Ice concert at Mar-a-Lago."

A Florida lawmaker is calling for Mar-a-Lago to be fined and shut down after video showed a ballroom packed with maskless partiers on New Year's Eve
  • Florida state Rep. Omari Hardy on Saturday called for President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, to face fines and closure.
  • His calls came following footage from a Mar-a-Lago on New Year's Eve showed a packed ballroom of maskless partygoers bringing in the new year in violation of a county order requiring masks.
  • "We cannot allow businesses and business owners to openly flout our mask order," Hardy wrote, adding: "This kind of open noncompliance endangers the public health and encourages more noncompliance."