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White House reportedly trying to lower coronavirus death rates by changing counting method

President Trump wants to lower COVID-19's death toll — but reportedly in one very questionable way.

Trump has recently grown suspicious about the 80,000-plus people who've died of coronavirus, especially as some mortality counts begin to include probable deaths, The Daily Beast reports. So he, along with task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, have pushed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with states to retool how they're counting those deaths to try to lower mortality rates, CDC officials say.

Last week, Trump conceded that coronavirus deaths in the U.S. will almost certainly surpass 100,000, with experts suggesting even more. But behind the scenes, "Trump has suggested that those numbers could have been incorrectly tallied or even inflated by current methodology," The Daily Beast reports via two individuals with knowledge of his comments. So Birx has pressured the CDC to stop including people who "do not have confirmed lab results and are presumed positive or who have the virus and may not have died as a direct result of it" in official death tallies, three senior administration officials tell The Daily Beast.

Five CDC officials told The Daily Beast they're resisting the Trump administration's pressure, as disease experts largely suggest coronavirus deaths are likely undercounted to begin with. "I don't worry about this overreporting issue," Bob Anderson, the chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch in CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told The Daily Beast. "We're almost certainly underestimating the number of deaths." Read more at The Daily Beast.