The nation's top infectious disease expert has addressed new data revealing that nearly every American who has died of coronavirus also had underlying conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 94 percent of those who have died of COVID-19 had at least one pre-existing health issue such as high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes.
This had led some to suggest that only 9,000 people in the US have died of the infection and not the official figure of more than 183,000.
In fact, even President Donald Trump retweeted a claim that discounted the coronavirus death toll, which was later taken down by Twitter for spreading false information.
In an appearance on Good Morning America on Tuesday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the fatality count is not exaggerated and that COVID-19 is a contributing factor in all these deaths.
Dr Anthony Fauci addressed new CDC data that shows coronavirus listed as the sole cause of death for just 6% of the more than 183,000 fatalities in an appearance on Good Morning America on Tuesday (above)
Fauci said the new data only means that 94% of people died of a combination of COVID-19 and underlying conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. Pictured: Fauci (right) speaks with host Amy Robach
Fauci says clinicians can and should test people who have been exposed to the virus even if they don't have symptoms after the CDC released on testing guidelines. Pictured: Nurse Kyah Paschall checks on 64-year-old-coronavirus patient Patricia Luera at Paradise Valley Hospital, National City, California, July 8
'The point that the CDC was trying to make was that a certain percentage of [fatalities] had nothing else, just COVID,' Fauci told anchor Amy Robach.
'That does not mean that someone who has hypertension, diabetes who dies of COVID didn't die of COVID-19. They did.
'So the numbers you've been hearing, the 180,000-plus are real deaths from COVID-19. Let there not be any confusion about that, it's not 9,000 deaths from COVID-19. It's 180,000-plus deaths.'
Fauci also spoke about the CDC's changed guidelines