AP FACT CHECK: Biden on virus deaths, Kerry’s climate crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and his team are getting the numbers wrong when they talk about the enormity of the mounting COVID-19 death toll and the looming climate change threat.

A look at the claims:

BIDEN: “Each day, I receive a small card in my pocket that I carry with me in my schedule. It shows the number of Americans who have been infected by or died from COVID-19. Today, we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone: 500,071 dead. That’s more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War combined.” — remarks Monday.

BIDEN: “As of yesterday, there are 500,071 people who have died from this — 500. That’s more people that died in World War One, World War Two and Vietnam combined, in a year — in a year.” — remarks Tuesday in roundtable with Black essential workers.

THE FACTS: His list of three wars is wrong. Based on conventional measures, coronavirus deaths in the U.S. currently do not exceed those from World War I, World War II and the Vietnam conflict.

According to the Congressional Research Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs, there were 116,516 U.S. deaths in World War I, 405,399 in World War II — which includes both battle deaths and other deaths in service but not in theater — and 58,220 in the Vietnam conflict. That adds up to about 580,000, exceeding the half million COVID-19 deaths as of Monday.

The virus death toll instead all but matched the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. With 36,574 deaths in the Korean War, the total number of casualties from those military conflicts was 500,193.

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Asked for Biden’s accounting, a White House official said Biden had meant in his speeches to say “combat” deaths in World War I, World War II and Vietnam — which totaled a more modest 390,000.

Source: AP News

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