In yet another embarrassing slip-up, President Biden Tuesday accidentally provided a lowball estimate of COVID-19’s death toll — saying “over 100” Americans have died from the disease since it emerged over three years ago.
Biden, 80, committed the gaffe — which was later corrected to “over 1 million” in an official White House transcript — while announcing a new plan for the expansion of mental health care.
“We’re still feeling the profound loss of the pandemic. As I mentioned, we have over 100 people dead,” Biden said at the White House.
“That’s 100 empty chairs around the kitchen table. Every single loss, there are so many people left behind and broken-hearted,” the commander in chief added.
Though Biden’s estimate is, in theory, correct, the total number of Americans that have lost their lives to COVID-19 since 2020 is closer to 1,135,000, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The World Health Organization believes nearly 7 million people have succumbed to the disease worldwide.
President Biden said that “over 100” people died from Covid-19 during a speech about expanding access to mental health care.Allison Bailey/NurPhoto/Shutterstock
Earlier on in his speech, the gaffe-prone president correctly said that “over a million people” died from the virus, leaving an estimated “8 million people left behind who were close to them.”
The president’s team amended the blunder on a transcript of his speech so that his estimate was crossed out and replaced by the correct “1 million” total.
Biden announced Tuesday that his administration was unveiling a new plan that would require insurers to study patient outcomes to ensure mental health and physical health benefits are administered equally, taking into account their provider network and reimbursement rates and whether prior authorization is required for care.
A teleprompter is seen as Biden delivers remarks in the White House briefing room.REUTERS
He argued that surviving loved ones of Covid-19 victims are prime examples of those who may have suffered the losses more deeply because they were not outfitted with appropriate, government-backed mental health insurance.
“How many mornings people get up or show up for dinner and there’s an empty chair? The impact on people’s lives is profound,” Biden said.
“And, folks, you know, I don’t know what the difference between breaking your arm and having a mental breakdown is. It’s health. There is no distinction. It’s health. “
The latest mistake comes just 11 days after Biden referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “Vladimir” during a speech at the annual NATO summit in Lithuania.
Biden immediately corrected himself after calling the war-torn country’s leader by the name of his ongoing aggressor.
During that same trip, the president confused Iceland and Ireland after calling the Scandinavian country’s prime minister the “daughter of Ireland.”
With Post wires