A group of Democratic senators, led by Californian Kamala Harris, sent a letter to the leaders of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, asking them to ensure that there is accurate reporting of the coronavirus death toll.
The lawmakers declared in the letter on Friday, “We are gravely concerned with recent reporting that President Trump and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are attempting to deflate the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19.”
They added, “It is incumbent on you to ensure an accurate and transparent death toll and consistent COVID-19 statistics.”
The letter comes after a report from Axios citing a senior administration official who said that he expects the president to begin publicly questioning the coronavirus death toll.
In a testimony this week before the Senate, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the death count is “almost certainly” higher.
The Democrats wrote in their letter, “Unfortunately, over the last two weeks, we have seen a misinformation campaign coming from the White House surrounding the COVID-19 death numbers, claiming the death count has been inflated.”
They continued, “The misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 death count is not a new tactic from President Trump. This is the exact behavior that led to an extreme undercount in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.”
The letter closed, “We must have accurate, reliable information in order to successfully fight COVID-19. It is imperative that FEMA and HHS work with experts … [to] put an end to inconsistent data and messaging surrounding the COVID-19 death count.”