Facts are under assault in 2020.

We can't fight back misinformation about the election and COVID-19 without you. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact

More Info

I would like to contribute

A screenshot from a video featuring Joe Biden. A screenshot from a video featuring Joe Biden.

A screenshot from a video featuring Joe Biden.

By Nusaiba Mizan July 20, 2020

Yes, Biden has said 150 million Americans died from guns and another 120 million from COVID-19

If Your Time is short

  • A Facebook post said presidential candidate Joe Biden said 150 million people died from gun violence and 120 million people died from COVID-19

  • In February, Biden incorrectly said in the final Democratic primary debate that 150 million Americans have been killed with guns. Biden’s campaign admitted this was a mistake after the debate and the number was supposed to be 150,000 people.

  • Presidential candidate Joe Biden incorrectly said on June 25 at a campaign event that 120 million people died from COVID-19. As of June 25, more than 119,000 died according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center’s U.S. map.

  • After making the ‘120 million’ claim, Biden immediately corrected himself.

  • The Facebook ad was correct in that Biden made these claims. The numbers in these claims are incorrect.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has drawn mockery and criticism — primarily from conservatives — for verbal missteps throughout his presidential campaign.

One recent Facebook post pulled out two statistical claims in particular, connected to gun violence and COVID-19.

The July 13, 2020, post said with a laughing emoji: "America has around 300 million people. Joe Biden said 150 MILLION were lost to gun violence AND we just lost ANOTHER 120 million to covid-19. So I’m reaching out to my friends to see if ANY of you are still alive"

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook).

This is obviously a joke, but it raises a question about Biden’s comments. Did he really claim both of those statistics at some point?  

The botched stats

Yes, Biden made these claims on two separate occasions, though for one he corrected himself immediately.

Biden made the claim regarding the U.S. COVID-19 death toll on June 25, 2020, at a campaign event in Pennsylvania. He was talking about health care coverage with families.

An ABC News Facebook Live video shows an attendee at the event mentioned the stress she felt over finances in addition to stress from hospital treatments, and how it all lowered her already low mental health at that time. Biden answered he intended to invest in mental health.

"That’s why we have a major multibillion dollar investment in mental health," Biden said. "What people drastically underestimate is the impact on the mental health of people who now, everything is complicated. People don’t have a job. People don’t have anywhere to go. They don’t know what they’re going to do."

He went on to say "Now we have over 120 million dead from COVID, I mean, 120,000 dead from COVID," according to audio obtained by Snopes.com.

Featured Fact-check

Biden made the gun violence claim in the final Democratic primary debate on Feb. 25, 2020, in South Carolina, where he said that 150 million Americans died since 2007 due to gun violence.

"In addition to that, I passed the Brady Bill with waiting periods. I led that fight. But my friend on my right," Biden said, gesturing to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, "and others have in fact also gave in to the gun manufacturers absolute immunity. Imagine if I stood here and said we give immunity to drug companies. We give immunity to tobacco companies. That has caused carnage on our streets; 150 million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt gun manufacturers from liability. More than all the wars, including Vietnam, from that point on."

So, the Facebook post is correct in that he made these claims, though it omits the date range Biden used and doesn’t give Biden credit for immediately correcting the COVID data error.

The real numbers

In both cases, Biden or his staff acknowledged he intended to say thousands, not millions. 

As Biden noted a moment after referencing millions of COVID deaths the current death toll remains in the thousands. As of June 25, 2020 when he made this statement, the death toll was more than 119,000, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center dashboard.

On the gun violence claim, a member of Biden’s campaign said Biden meant to say 150,000 people. Biden has previously referenced that stat correctly.

Data from the CDC shows from 2007 to 2018 there were 148,182 firearm homicides.

Our ruling

A Facebook post said Biden said 120 million Americans died from COVID-19 and that 150 million Americans died from gun violence since 2007. 

Both of those numbers are drastically wrong. Biden meant to say "thousands" in both cases, not "millions."

The post is correct that Biden did make these claims, but after misstating the COVID stat he immediately corrected himself, a detail the post omits.

We rate this claim Mostly True.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Nusaiba Mizan

Yes, Biden has said 150 million Americans died from guns and another 120 million from COVID-19

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up