Roughly two-thirds of U.S. residents don’t believe the CDC’s official tally for the number of Covid-19 deaths. This distrust, however, flows in opposing directions. A nationally representative survey conducted by Axios/Ipsos in late July 2020 found that 37% of adults think the real number of C-19 fatalities in the U.S. is lower than reported, while 31% think the true death toll is greater than reported.
The facts show that neither side has an airtight case, but the evidence is more consistent with the theory that less people have died from C-19 than the official figures indicate. Nevertheless, the extent of the possible overcount is unknown, and even if it were as high as 50,000, it would not make a marked difference in key measures of the pandemic’s severity. Hence, debates over the accuracy of the death toll distract from other issues with much greater implications.