President Donald Trump promoted a conspiracy theory once again – that COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. only total 10,000 instead of the 180,000 reported by health officials. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) have also echoed the president’s theory.

With approximately 1,000 COVID-19 related deaths reported daily, Trump has promised Americans  that a vaccine will be introduced before the end of the year. Additionally, the Trump Administration announced its priority to protect immunocompromised people and more vulnerable populations instead of implementing a strategy to combat the virus as a whole.

Trump recently retweeted a post from Mel Q, a user who believes in the QAnon conspiracy, that stated only about 9,000 died from COVID-19. Twitter has since removed the tweet for violating its community guidelines on disinformation.

Republican conspiracy theories on lower death tolls have received strong pushback from scientific experts.

Scholar Amesh Adalja from the John Hopkins University Center for Health Security commented, “It is completely, to me, mind-boggling that people are using this as fodder for some conspiracy theory. I’m not sure why this is even a story other than people are trying to minimize what is a serious infectious disease.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, added, “That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of COVID-19 – they did – so the numbers that you’ve been hearing, the 180,000-plus deaths, are real deaths from COVID-19.”